THE recent felling of trees along the Malaguna Road in Rabaul, East New Britain, has angered many of the province’s long term residents.
It is believed that the historical shade trees were chopped down to make way for power lines.
Among those who have raised their voices against the ‘outrageous’ exercise was Rabaul Historical Society secretary, Susan McGrade.
A frustrated Ms McGrade told Loop PNG that the shade trees had “survived many, many eruptions”.
“There was absolutely no reason to remove the trees altogether,” she said.
McGrade, who is also the Rabaul community and business association chairwoman, said the power lines were designed to handle volcanic ash fall and were able to go through trees.
The town management should have carried out regular pruning of the trees, she stated.
Rabaul Town manager Victor Vutliu explained that when the trees were planted, the road and power lines were not considered.
Vutliu stated that instead of growing down, the trees’ roots grew under the sealed surface and pushed back up. This affected the road infrastructure.
He said the removal of the rain trees will also see a reduction in petty crime, school fights, drug sales and drinking homebrew.
“Someone can sit there all day and study the business community go in and out of the bank, or gather to drink homebrew and cause nuisance.”
He said smaller trees with smaller root systems will be replanted, preferably palm trees.