‘Traffic hazard’: Council divided over plans to plant trees in CBD roundabouts | Katherine Times

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Alderman Toni Tapp Coutts has rebuked a plan to plant trees in Katherine roundabouts, saying they will be a danger and affect “visibility and safety.” In a statement, Katherine Town Council said it plans to plant Mimusops elengi, a native tree known as Spanish Cherry, in the middle of three CBD roundabouts on the junctions between First and Warburton, Giles and Lindsay streets, as well as the junction between Second and Giles Street. The plan is currently under review, but if implemented the council says the trees would not be a safety hazard because they are a “medium size, narrow trunk species”. According to the council, the tree trunks would have a diameter of 150mm to 200mm and “additional ground cover plantings” would be added. Despite this, alderman Tapp Coutts said the landscaping effort should focus on alternative plants such as Vinca, Bougainvillea or Desert Roses. She said landscaping should not jeopardise the safety of Katherine’s roads. “I do not support the type of plants,” she said. “We definitely need some colours… [but] we need to be careful about the type of plant.” DRV4LYF driving instructor and road safety expert Pamela Dixon appreciated the council’s efforts to improve the image of the town, but said she would prefer no plants to be put in the roundabouts. “Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea… [maybe] tiny little bushes and flowers, but I don’t really think they should have anything,” Mrs Dixon said. She said the town’s junctions are too small to risk blocking a driver’s view of oncoming traffic with any size of tree. The roundabouts would have to be “three or four times bigger” before Mrs Dixon would consider planting a tree. Inexperienced drivers and people from out-of-town would be particularly disadvantaged by the trees, Ms Dixon said. “It’s definitely a risk for younger drivers. “We’re a tourist town… they won’t realise the speed locals go around the roundabout.” The Katherine Times asked some locals on Lindsay Street what they thought of the potential new trees. Juanita Tarbe described the junction as a “hazard” in its current state due to the area being subject to dense traffic. She said a smaller plant would be more suitable for the roundabout. “It depends on the tree, if it was a low shrub it probably wouldn’t be a problem.” Colleen Wakefield opposed the planting of a tree, she said the high number of tourists and their caravans in the area during the dry season adds to congestion in the area. “It’s a traffic hazard, wait for the grey nomads… it’s the worst place for a petrol station.” While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you’re up to date with all the news, sign up here.


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