The Bermagui Country Club has started implementing its tree management plan on the town golf course, cutting down diseased radiata pines and also noxious Norfolk Island hibiscus.
Some native trees that are diseased or otherwise struggling have also been approved for removal.
The club will replace these trees with native species such as spotted gum said chairman of the club’s tree management committee Derek Quinto.
“We had a full consultation with the members of the club as part of the process and did a whole survey of the club,” Mr Quinto said. “The plan has been fully endorsed by the Bega Valley Shire Council and to a degree the local land services.”
The committee has also been negotiating with the South East Local Land Services to obtain a grant of up to $20,000 towards the wetlands restoration project, which entails the removal of Norfolk Island hibiscus and noxious weeds from the low-lying wetland areas of the golf course.
The club’s tree management plan has generated some criticism from those concerned about the cutting down of trees, regardless of whether or not they are non-native species.
Wayne Van Epen lives in the Southern Highlands, but has a family property adjacent to the golf course where his father currently lives. He posted his concerns on the Bermagui Country Club Facebook page.
“I was down over the last school holidays and was completely gobsmacked at the removal of so many non-indigenous trees around the golf course, and the amount of marked trees for further proposed removal clearly marked out with a big X on them, mainly the Norfolk pines,” Mr Van Epen wrote.
“This is very upsetting to see, and must be further upsetting for the locals golfers and the great people of Bermagui, as it is a symbol of Bermagui and the Country Club.
“There would be much more pressing issues with the course to attend to from a maintenance standards with much more positive results than tree removal and disturbing the local bird life who have used theses trees for nesting for generations.
“These trees have been there from before I was a child running around on the course.”
Mr Quinto said the plan was developed in consultation with course superintendent Dave Thompson, Bega Valley Shire Council vegetation services and the club’s greens committee.
The club’s 2017 annual report goes into detail about the tree management plan:
“(The plan) has continued the arduous task of removing noxious, deceased and potentially harmful trees and shrubs from the golf course. This has not always been, according to some, a popular task however, the ‘Tree Management Plan’ has been endorsed by the Bermagui Country Club Board and Bega Valley Shire Council.
“It is pleasing to note that Derek with help from others undertook to propagate native trees to replace those that have been removed. Men’s golf has also contributed financially towards the purchase of native tube stock.
“BCC wish to thank Ted Munckton for his time and the use of his equipment to remove many stumps around the course. The removal of stumps by this method unfortunately left many large holes that, at a substantial cost in soil and labour, needed to be filled. A stump grinder was purchased to overcome this problem with the funds donated by men’s golf.”