IT certainly won’t be Mackay Regional Council’s most popular decision; sacrificing about 180 mature pines to make way for infrastructure needed to fluoridate our water.
Council plans to take chainsaws to the elegant band of pines outside the Nebo Road water treatment plant that for more than 40 years have been a landmark for people entering Mackay on the Bruce Highway.
The pines will be cut down to make room for new infrastructure needed to fluoridate Mackay’s water supply.
The first 50 pines will be felled next Monday, with the rest being chopped down over six to eight weeks.
Mackay Regional Council commercial services acting director Jason Devitt said the pines were taking up precious space needed for the $24 million expansion of the Water Treatment Plant and the trees were old, with some becoming dangerous.
“We need to maximise the use of land, if there was a significant cyclone they would be a risk,” he said.
The $24 million project will include expanding the capacity of the plant from processing 55 megalitres to 75 megalitres a day, as well as improving the processing equipment that manages sludge by-product from the water treatment.
“There will be one building that will be used for part of the fluoride infrastructure as well as for storing other chemicals,” Mr Devitt said.
Corporate communications manager Ken Furdek said council park staff had assessed that some of the pines were coming to the end of their life span.
“As they age, the root structure of the pines weaken and they are at risk of falling over,” he said.
Mr Devitt said council would look to replace the trees with “native themed landscaping” once the project was completed.
Designed at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, the landscape would complement the surrounding gardens.