Dead trees, debris ‘an accident waiting to happen’

Doug Russell is concerned about this pile of cleared trees at Mt Coolum National Park. Photo: Mike Garry/scw1335
Doug Russell is concerned about this pile of cleared trees at Mt Coolum National Park. Photo: Mike Garry/scw1335

Doug Russell has been trying for almost two years to get someone, anyone, to clean up piles of dead trees and debris in the Mt Coolum National Park behind his Power Court unit.

After watching last weekend’s bushfires in Victoria where it is believed more than 200 people perished, the 66-year-old, long-term Mt Coolum resident has run out of patience.

Mr Russell said the trees had been cleared to provide a road and firebreak along the perimeter of the national park.

“When they cleared this road through they took all the trees down and threw them up there,” he said.

“And they’re decent-sized logs. They’re not something that’s going to burn in five minutes.

“Someone’s got to do something about it. What happened in Victoria’s got to be a warning to everybody.”

Mr Russell said he was concerned for the many older residents who lived nearby.

“A lot of people along here are elderly and some of them take medication to go to sleep of a night,” he said.

“Now if a fire comes in the middle of the night, these people are very vulnerable to being burnt alive.”

Mr Russell said he loved the mountain and the national park with its many wild animals but said in its present state the park near his unit was “an accident waiting to happen”.

“The mountain only went up a few years back. I remember sitting there watching that.”

In August 2007, former Maroochy councillor Bruce Dunne wrote to Mr Russell advising him that the council and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) had negotiated an agreement to share costs in clearing part of the road reserve to establish a break behind the properties in Power Court.

“QPWS were to arrange the public consultation but unfortunately this did not happen,” Mr Dunne’s letter said. “It was not council’s responsibility for the undertaking of the work as this was not a conservation/ bushland reserve.”

But a spokesperson for the QPWS media office said this week that the road was a council road and therefore a council responsibility.

This was disputed by Sunshine Coast division eight councillor Debbie Blumel who said QPWS had told her on Monday that it had plans to undertake a controlled burn of the area.

“I have spoken to QPWS and they have advised that they’ve scheduled the burn to take place by July 2009,” Ms Blumel said.

“I understand that they need the right conditions to do a burn and that may affect the actual timing of the burn.”

She said council would “work cooperatively” with QPWS on the issue.

“I don’t believe in passing the buck and will be following up with both Mr Russell and QPWS to ensure that this matter is resolved satisfactorily.”

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