Travellers on the Tinonee Road are used to seeing a picturesque Bight Cemetery lined with golden cypress trees and surrounded by a typically country post and wire fence, and a farm gate entrance, as they drive by.
As of Thursday, February 28, however, the cemetery is no longer such a charming sight as the road boundary is now devoid of trees.
Following the storm on December 20, 2018 that ripped two of the trees out of the ground that consequently damaged a number of graves, MidCoast Council has acted in the name of public safety.
Council called in an arborist to check on the health and structure of the remaining trees. The trees were examined and found to have too many structural problems, therefore rendering them unsafe. The decision was made to remove the remaining golden cypress trees.
Related reading: Grave concerns for Bight Cemetery
"The assessment was undertaken by an arborist with the relevant qualifications for assessing trees in public spaces," MidCoast Council manager Community Spaces, Recreations and Trades Daniel Aldridge said.
To access the trees, the wire fence also had to be pulled apart.
MidCoast Council assures the trees will be replaced, however the Parks team has not yet decided exactly what they will be replaced with. One thing is known - they will not be replacing them with more shady trees, but something like lilly pillys. The plan is create a hedge - something that is easier to maintain, and less risk to the public.
When planting will commence depends on rain. In the meantime, the fence will be fixed prior to any planting going ahead.
I'm so angry and saddened. Those beautiful trees made the cemetery a beautiful place to visit the graves of loved ones. They also provided much needed shade there.Nicolle Brown
Some members of the public are dismayed by the loss of the cypress trees at the cemetery.
"I'm so angry and saddened. Those beautiful trees made the cemetery a beautiful place to visit the graves of loved ones. They also provided much needed shade there. I am disgusted that council has done this. Appalling and so upsetting!" said Nicolle Brown, who, with her husband, owns a dairy property opposite the cemetery.
Nicolle added that the trees were at least 60 years old, and were originally planted by the Mondrook Junior Farmers, some of whom still live the area.
"While we acknowledge it is a loss for such old trees to be removed, our priority in public spaces is the protection of our community and property," Mr Aldridge said.