Mayor takes blame for heated plane trees row

MAYOR Mal Peters said he took the blame for the heated debate that took place earlier this year over the planned removal of trees from the CBD that was prevented by a community protest.
Nanjing Night Net

Speaking at Sunday’s meet the candidates’ forum ahead of the September 8 council election, Cr Peters said his inexperience as mayor meant the community wasn’t consulted on the matter.

“The tree issue was really interesting because I’m a reasonably big bloke and when I became mayor I had to get on my bike with training wheels on and I’m peddling like crazy trying to get going and then came this flamin’ trees issues, it sort of knocked me over. I think it would be absolutely horrendous if Inverell didn’t have the amenity of all our trees, it’s a beautiful part of our city.”

Back in February the council accepted an offer by Essential Energy to remove the Plane trees in Campbell, Evans and River streets.

A hastily organised rally prevented the removal of the trees and at a public meeting held a week later plenty in the community expressed strong dissatisfaction about council’s lack of community consultation.

At Sunday’s meet the candidate’s forum Cr Peters said the trees were a feature of the CBD that many visitors to town had commented on.

“There’d be no way in the wide world we’d want to get rid of our trees.”

“I think what happened in that instance was you probably had a mayor who didn’t understand how to engage the community a bit more, because had I gone out to the community and sought some more input with it and done what we’ve done now; and that is we’ve got a street vegetation plan, we’re actively involved with the community, we wouldn’t have had the angst that we’ve had.

“With the plan that’s going to be put up now and the community involvement with it, there’s not going to be a problem because everyone will be comfortable with it.

“So we’ll put it down to an inexperienced mayor who didn’t know how to manage things. Mea Culpa, I’m Sorry,” Cr Peters said.

The question had been raised at Sunday’s meeting by former council director Greg Moran who was the architect behind much of the beautification of Inverell’s CBD.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Posted by at 18/05/2018
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