Cars park over the roots of the Norfolk pine trees in Bay Street, Byron Bay.
Cars park over the roots of the Norfolk pine trees in Bay Street, Byron Bay.

Cars damage Byron's majestic pines

They provide one of the best parking locations in Byron Bay – beachfront, shade, proximity to town and there are no parking fees.


But the majestic avenue of Norfolk pine trees in Bay Street are being damaged by vehicles parking on top of their root systems.


In a report to a meeting of Byron Shire Council last week, executive manager community infrastructure Phil Holloway said there were 11 mature Norfolk pine trees on the roadside between the Main Beach car park and the Byron Bay Surf Club.


“While the trees are not presently showing any obvious signs of stress, they are smaller in stature than the proximal trees that do not have cars parking beneath them,” he said.


“The substrate beneath the trees is obviously compacted, limiting permeability, and the trees will have directed their roots beneath the park to take advantage of more available water and oxygen.


“As well as the compaction and physical damage to roots, there is also damage to the bark caused by the numerous knocks and scrapes that result from poor car parking practices.”


In 2002 a consulting arborist  inspected the Norfolk pines and suggested the placing of a bollard on the roadside of each tree to protect them from further vehicle damage.


He also recommended that the car park be sealed in porous asphalt to protect the roots.


Mr Holloway said that an inspection carried out by qualified council staff in May this year could not determine any fresh bark damage.


“There are several options open to council, including removing all of the car parking spaces from under the trees; limiting the parking between the trees to just one car; sealing the area with porous asphalt and providing plastic soil protection cells,” Mr Holloway said.


“The preferred option is to use the plastic soil protection cells.”


The council resolved to allocated $12,500 from paid parking income to provide plastic soil protection cells over the root systems of the Norfolk pine trees.


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