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
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
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,
relocation of the memorial
to another area,
repositioning of the
flagpoles and realignment of the point of focus for community
relocation of the tree,
removal of the tree.
The preferred option of the Sub
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
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
LEST WE FORGET