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Preserving landmarks vs Modernised development; Mabaruma rubber trees to go

The rubber trees in Mabaruma which will begin being axed from today

A move by the authorities at Mabaruma to cut down the town’s historical rubber trees has seen calls by the public for the authorities to save the Region One Town’s well known landmark.

On Tuesday night Mabaruma mayor Chris Phang posted a notice on his social media account on Facebook advising the town’s residents that traffic within the area will be re-routed to facilitate the removal of the century old rubber trees.

“The Mabaruma Town Council wish to advise all Road users and the general public at large that there will be a closure of the road in the Mabaruma Compound Area for the general public from Tomorow (27th/01/2021) to facilitate the cutting of the Rubber Trees.

All persons and vehicles are asked to use the Backroad from the Broomes Playfield to King James Gocery shop & the Road between NIS and the Power company to the Mabaruma Nursary School which will be directed by a Traffic Rank, We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,everyone (drivers and commuters) are asked to cooperate for the Development of Mabaruma. Thank you,’ the notice read.

However, as the information spread on social media, dozens of persons have since condemned the move as many noted the rich history of the trees.

The move to cut the trees saw mixed reactions in the past, with some residents noting the danger the trees pose to pedestrians and motorists.

On the contrary,others have noted that steps can be put in place to trim and protect the trees as they reminded others about the landmark’s place in history.

Some have noted that it is the only roadway in the country with such scenery.

Removal of the trees was first mentioned back in 2019 when works were being undertaken to widen and upgrade the roadway at the Philbert Pierre Avenue, the section of the roadway where the trees are found at Mabaruma.

That announcement by engineers attached to the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure drew a negative reaction from the public and a petition was also drafted to save the trees.

The plan was halted and consultations with the public were put to the fore, however there was little participation from residents.

Overtime the plan to cut the trees was placed on the back burner until this week’s announcement by the town council.

While no reason was given by the council for the removal of the trees this week, reports are that the Ministry of Public Works awarded the council with a contract to cut and remove the trees.