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Statement by the Sub Branch regarding recent Media Reports

 

 

The President of the Highfields RSL Sub Branch INC, Mr Steven Dudley, issued the following statement in response to reports in local media, about the removal of a tree outside the Highfields Cultural Centre.

The Highfields RSL Sub Branch most recently approached the Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) in early 2011 with a proposal for improvements to the Community Memorial area outside of the Highfields Cultural Centre. The purpose of the proposal was to improve the area for use during memorial services conducted for the community such as ANZAC day and Remembrance Day.  

Since services were commenced by the RSL at Highfields on ANZAC Day 2006, the numbers of people attending the services have grown and the area was slowly becoming unsuitable for the conduct of such significant services in its current layout. The current memorial stone was purchased and gifted to the community of Highfields by the Highfields RSL Sub Branch in 2008, since then some small improvements have been made to the area immediately surrounding the memorial.

The sub branch was particularly concerned with the size of the tree and the fact that it was obstructing the memorial and flagpole area. In recent years the Sub Branch requested that the tree be pruned prior to significant events. The Sub Branch was also concerned with the vigorous tree roots breaking up and distorting badly the concrete kerb and road which had become a health and safety hazard.  The root system of the tree had impacted on the concrete curb and had also started to impact on the bitumen road surface. Concern was also held for the ongoing condition of the community memorial base which was showing sign of shifting and the time capsule near the tree.

 When the RSL approached the council a number of meetings were held both on site and at the council offices in Toowoomba to discuss the project and the best course of action to take. A number of proposals were considered including,

      a.                   relocation of the memorial to another area,

b.                   repositioning of the flagpoles and realignment of the point of focus for community gatherings,

c.                   relocation of the tree, and

d.                   removal of the tree.

 The preferred option of the Sub Branch and TRC officers was for the relocation of the tree to a more suitable location. Council consulted with and sought the advice of arborists who advised that this option was unsuitable given the size, age and type of tree. A full explanation of the TRC's position on the removal can be found on Councilís website

 The Sub Branch now intends to work with the TRC and other community groups and members of the public to improve the area around the memorial and make it a more usable area for community events. This will involve the Sub Branch seeking assistance from government departments such as the department of Veterans Affairs by way of grants that are made available for such projects.

If you would like any further information. have questions or would like to arrange an interview with the President, please contact one of the addresses below :

president@highfieldsrsl.org

secretary@highfieldsrsl.org

 

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