CAIRNS Regional Council has rejected claims the Novotel Oasis Resort has sought its approval to remove flying fox roosting trees from an inner-city vacant block of land.
The hotel proposes to clear 11 trees, some of which house the protected spectacled flying fox, from the 1.4ha site on Abbott St as early as the end of this month.
It says mango trees have caused problems for management, including infrastructure damage from roots and slip hazards from fallen fruit, and the noise from the colony has impacted on guests.
Earlier this year, council staff removed 20-30 per cent of two trees at the site in an attempt to deter flying foxes from roosting in the CBD.
Removing the trees completely is estimated to take about a week and requires council and federal approval.
While Novotel’s application to the Federal Government is currently open for public comment, the council has denied receiving one.
“The private landowners (Novotel) have not declared their intentions to council in relation to the trees and no application has been lodged with council for the removal of the trees,” a spokeswoman said.
The proposed clearing works have angered the Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland, which argued the trees’ historical and environmental significance.
“These trees are historic because they were planted by the students of the Cairns Central School, the prior occupant of this site, in the first Arbor Day plantings in Queensland on August 1, 1890, an event created to celebrate the anniversary of the coronation of Queen Victoria,” EDO NQ president Mark Buttrose said.
“It is disappointing that, despite being in the tourism business, Novotel seems incapable of appreciating the tourism value of large, mature historic trees and the threatened species that roost in them.”
Residents have until August 19 to respond to Novotel’s proposal, visit environment.gov.au