Ernie Organ Park at Torquay about to get a make over.
Ernie Organ Park at Torquay about to get a make over. Alistair Brightman

Cottonwood chop expected to begin within weeks

CONTROVERSIAL upgrades and tree-clearing work have begun at Ernie Organ Park, with the cottonwood chop expected to begin within weeks and be completed by Easter.

The council's crews are expected to be on site until April to complete the revamp.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell said some cottonwoods would be removed to create more room for park users.

"The extra room is needed for more facilities to cope with the demand on the park," he said.

"The stand of cottonwoods between the beach access and the caravan park at the eastern end of the park will be left as it is, with some minor pruning at the front.

"The tunnel between the park and beach through the branches will remain."

The Fraser Coast Regional Council drew strong objections from the community late last year after a decision was made to clear 400sqm of cottonwood trees at the park.

The decision was criticised by Cr George Seymour who accused Cr O'Connell of a lack of transparency.

But Cr O'Connell hit back, saying plans for the park had been on the council's website for months.

Now that dust has settled, work on playground upgrades, renewing garden beds and installing new shelters will begin.

Jannean Dean, who ran as an Independent in Hervey Bay's State Election, has opposed the development.

She made a complaint to Local Government Minister David Crisafulli about the council's transparency and decision-making.

"I don't see how they can keep going and making decisions without community consultation," she said.

"They're spending all this needless money on that park - there's nothing wrong with the park."

The work

  • Replace tables and seats at western end of park and reconfigure area to accommodate relocated barbecue
  • Establish new play area
  • Remove bark soft fall in smaller children's playground and replace with rubber soft fall
  • Install a new shelter, seat and table in northeast corner
  • Retain cottonwood tunnel beach access