THE future of the Bum Tree on Gerroa Road has spilled over local government boundaries with residents of the Shoalhaven’s nearest neighbour planning a protest to save the tree.
Residents from Gerroa are up in arms over Shoalhaven City Council’s proposal to remove the colloquially known Bum Tree and will stage a protest at the location on Monday.
The Gerroa Environmental Protection Society (GEPS) has organised a demonstration over the tree’s removal at Berrys Beach at 11am and will also protest over the removal of other large trees along Gerroa Road.
Shoalhaven City Council received black spot funding to widen the road and remove a number of trees, including the Bum Tree near the Seven Mile Beach picnic area.
The much-loved Bum Tree has two bumps resembling a human bottom. Some unknown local has been painting the bumps to highlight its anatomical form for decades.
GEPS president Warren Holder said the group was sent a letter from Shoalhaven City Council asking if it wanted to participate in a consultation meeting to discuss options for ongoing uses of any part of the bum tree once removed.
“This was an insulting response to the issues we have raised; it’s like inviting us to muse on these great trees’ carcasses,” he said.
Mr Holder said the group recognised that road safety was an important matter along Gerroa Road and would like to be consulted about the options to make it safer.
“People use this road as the quickest through route between Gerringong and Nowra because it has a mostly 100km/h speed limit,” he said.
“Widening the road and removing these trees will only encourage drivers to drive faster and, with wallabies from the national park regularly wandering onto the road, may even increase the inherent dangers along the road.
“We believe that there are other strategies to slow traffic that could be considered, like lowering the speed limit and providing road markings and calming devices at the Berry Beach Road intersection.”
GEPS secretary Howard Jones said most of the large trees along the road had important nesting hollows for greater gliders.
“This is another blow to the biologically significant habitat at Seven Mile Beach where wildlife is suffering ongoing habitat fragmentation and destruction – sand mining,
urban encroachment, Gerringong sewage treatment works, Kiama tip and Shoalhaven Heads golf course encroachment,” he said.
The group also plans to again protest at a council consultation meeting at 5pm to discuss what to do with the remnants of the trees.
A petition has been established to try to halt the tree’s removal and so far has attracted more than 830 signatures.
To sign the on-line petition, go to www.change.org.