COLERAINE Borough Council has moved quickly to quash rumours that trees, which had been removed from a site in Portrush, are NOT being chopped up.
Last week, we reported that the trees which had been placed in front of an unfinished apartment block at Causeway Street had been removed by Council workers.
At the time, Council issued a statement to say that the trees were to be nurtured at Coleraine Borough Council’s Parks Nursery before being planted in areas around the Borough.
In light of our story, we received a number of calls from angry members of the public informing us that the trees were not in fact at a Council Nursery, but had been “dumped” at the rear of pitches at Rugby Avenue.
One caller said: “What a joke. Talk about a disgraceful waste of money at a time when most people are fearful of losing their jobs or making ends meet.”
In a statement on Monday, a Coleraine Borough Council spokesperson said : “ The Parks Nursery is located across a number of sites in the Borough including Rugby Avenue.
“The trees are not dumped, but are being stored on their sides in their original pots awaiting a suitable interim site where they can be looked after until the season for replanting comes around.
“The trees are alive although stressed.
“Council is keen to ensure that this investment funded from the public purse is protected and is utilised across the Borough for the benefit of all its rate payers.
“Council can assure that it has no intention of either cutting them up or allowing them to die.
DUP councillor Adrian McQuillan, who has also been contacted about the trees, told The Times: “I am really disgusted by this, and so are the people that were in contact with me.
“These trees were funded by the DoE as part of the Portrush-Portstewart Intervention Programme, this is money that comes out of the public purse. They have now been left in a very sorry state, it is a real waste of money if these trees are not replanted.
STORY: Nichola Forgrave