World Famous Urban Food Street Just Got Mowed Down by City Enforcers
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Urban Food Street (UBS) is a hugely popular precinct in Buderim, on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia.
This precinct spanned 11 streets and over the past 7 years neighbors grow food on the verges, free to the community. They grew enough food for 200 people and neighbors who didn’t have food-bearing trees or gardens were welcome to trade other wares. The citrus trees felled would have supplied jam for the residents for the next 12 months.
Residents, however, were horrified to find “barren” ground where 18 trees had been unapologetically chopped down and mulched last week. In one fell swoop, the Sunshine Coast Council erased years of hard work.
“Why would the council chop down trees that produce what we eat? They were 1.2 metres back from the road. There’s no danger,” said one resident. The project was considered “internationally significant” and residents said the council blocked attempts for a solution.
Unsurprisingly, the council took these actions based on a “complaint.”
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ABC Sunshine Coast reports:
The council then ordered residents to obtain public liability insurance and a free permit in order to keep the trees on the footpaths.
The trees felled this morning were on the footpath of three properties where the resident had not obtained a permit.
Residents have told the ABC they were unaware of the work being done until council trucks and mulchers entered the precinct early this morning.
Chris White, a chef and resident within the UFS precinct, phoned ABC Sunshine Coast on Wednesday morning as he stood at the stumps of what were until this morning fully-laden fruit trees.
“It’s a way now that they can put a concrete footpath in and it’s a show of force,” he said.
As you can see below, the residents are a tight community and it seems unlikely that anyone in the neighborhood would have had anything to complain about, nor should the city knock down the literal fruits of their labor.
Nearly 3 million people watched this video showcasing the popular fruit-filled precinct:
ABC Sunshine Coast adds:
Produce from the trees was grown for and consumed by the local community.
Mr White said destroying the trees was devastating for residents.
“I think it’s the kids that are going to be impacted greatest here because they’ve nurtured these trees, and now they’re not here.”
Through tears Mr White said fruit from one tree had been saved, only due to the quick thinking of one of the residents.
“She climbed inside the tree so that they couldn’t cut it down,” he said.
One of the residents climbed in a tree and saved it; however, there were not enough people to be there at all times to save the trees. What a great way to use the people’s monies.
A Councilman said they were left with no choice “after a resident had not applied for a permit, nor opted to relocate the trees to private property.” The permit was free but there was also a requirement to pay liability insurance and apparently to relocate grown trees, reminiscent of a Gilmore Girls episode where the tyrannical mayor forces someone to disassemble a greenhouse to move it six inches where it will then be within limitations. Ten residents were able to move the trees to private property, however.
The residents in question must pay fines up to $609 and more residents are targeted for June. Mr. White was concerned of apply for the permit as he felt that was no guarantee that it would prevent fines or further action.
Resident Gail Felgenhauer said the council was “belligerent, bullying and discriminatory.”
“We’ve had multiple meetings and presented multiple options and ideas for solving their imagined problems,” she said.
“They have discriminated against food.
“We have grown food here to share with the elderly in the area, with couples and families, and we’ve grown this for seven years.
“And all of a sudden the council tries to bully us into getting permits and then there were difficulties with insurance. – Our position was that there were ornamentals [on verges] all over the Sunshine Coast area, so why discriminate against vegetables and fruit?” Yes, great question…
Thanks to “code enforcers” worldwide who are simultaneously creating “green task forces” under the auspices of Agenda 21 – citizens are now tree-sitting….not to save the environment from the ravages of corporations, but to protect their own food from the people paid to serve them.