New trees in Casuarina

2015-04-30 13:46

AFTER months of controversy and public pressure – as promised – indigenous trees will be planted at the corner of Genazzano Road in Seatides.

The popular park in the area came under the spotlight after an eThekwini based land developer Stuart Whittaker removed the Casuarina trees, much to the disdain of community members and activists.

Whittaker also admitted to incorrectly assessing the environmental impact of the tree felling with hundreds of weaver birds killed and displaced in the process.

According to Whittaker, the Department of Forestry requested he remove trees on his personal property on Watson Highway at the entrance of Westbrook.

He said he thereafter offered to remove the trees on Watson Highway and Genazzano claiming “seeds were creating saplings after I had removed the trees”. Now, speaking to the Weekly, Whittaker has said that in coming weeks, the popular spot near Westbrook Beach would have trees planted.

“I have spoken to Ramu Govender from Parks and Gardens and met with Jeeva Pillay from the civic as well as DA councillor for the beaches Geoff Pullan. I have also hired a professional landscaper.”

Pullan confirmed a meeting that took place and said that plans would be going through “very soon”.

“We have been shown where most of the trees would be and we have also asked Tongaat Hulett to clean some of their bushes in the area.”

Pillay said it was agreed at the meeting that mainly Coral trees would go up at the spot together with different types of fig bearing trees.

“This tree has an exceptional beautification effect especially during the autumn months and will be in general good for the area. There will also be spaces that will be set aside for the public to once again be able to enjoy.”

Pillay said that a foot path that had been created by those walking in the area would also be enhanced.

“It looks like there will be about 100 trees that will [be planted] according to Whittaker’s professional.”

However, Pillay said that the public still had many unanswered questions about the new development and insisted more communication was required.

“We have seen in the press that Whittaker has a tendency to change his stories. We want to get together with all public from the area and him to talk about these issues. It is vital that he understands we are an active, participating community. We will always hold the powers that be accountable.”

Whittaker said that while he did hold one public meeting specifically for Westbrook residents at their request, he would hold a larger meeting soon.

“We will definitely be holding a meeting for all the areas and affected parties to discuss the various issues behind the tree issues and the development,” said Whittaker

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