Sunday, January 17, 2016

City resident fights to save public safety hazard: A toxic, invasive tree that can also snap in high wind conditions downing power lines and impeding emergency response vehicles

Here is another true story in Lake Worth from the file, "You Can't Make This Stuff Up". Last June a resident of Lake Worth who lives on the outskirts of the City, as far away as you can get without falling into Lake Osborne, came to the defense of her precious Australian Pine before the City's Tree Board. This ridiculousness was forgotten until someone recently went looking for information on another topic, the upcoming Tree Festival. It was discovered that no minutes from the Tree Board have been posted to the City's website since (drum roll please). . .you guessed it: June of last year.

Anyone can speculate as to why this occurred. The good news is the Tree Board now has all the minutes available for the public to read. We'll have to trust that the minutes are accurate and reflect what actually occurred. I am not aware of anyone that is disputing the minutes and don't expect that to happen.

Now back to that toxic, invasive, and public health/safety hazard: the Australian Pine. It's a dangerous and nasty tree in south Florida and especially so the taller it gets. Besides stealing habitat from song birds and Gopher Tortoises it can snap in high wind conditions. Surrounding each tree is what's described as a 'death zone'. The needles are toxic and kill almost anything nearby. When the top of the tree snaps off you can imagine the danger to people, structures, utility lines, and if it lands on the road any vehicles (such as emergency vehicles) can have their route blocked.

Despite all this information, Lynn Anderson (who is referred to by many as The Obtuse Blogger [TOB]) went to the Tree Board to defend her Australian Pine:
The first page from the minutes of the Tree Board meeting on June 11th.
Note that Australian Pines are "one of the 3 worst" trees to Florida's wildlife habitat. One of those affected species is the Gopher Tortoise.
The Tree Board defended the City and their position on the Australian Pine. They also made recommendations going forward dealing with invasive trees that pose a danger to the public and environment. The City of Lake Worth has what's called a "Vegetation Amnesty" week; this year it is May 23–27. If you have an Australian Pine, that would be a good time to consider removing it—prior to this year's hurricane season. 

You wouldn't want that Australian Pine falling on your neighbor's home or car, or your own home, or have to deal with a community-wide electric outage. Can you even imagine anyone taking an opposite opinion? It's absurd.