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Bunya bunya tree saved

Thursday, February 7th, 2013 | Posted by

Lots of Sebastopudlians will be delighted to learn that engineers for The Barlow project have come up with a plan to save the Australian bunya bunya tree that makes CalTrans and city leaders happy.

The landmark tree, which may or may not have been planted by Luther Burbank, has stood at the east entrance to town for many decades but was in danger of the chainsaw. A new pedestrian crosswalk had to be built to accommodate the disabled. The first engineering plan called for cutting the tree down.

A majority of the people who responded to a Sebastopol Towns poll voted to save the tree. Of the 67 people who cast ballots, 91 percent were in favor making an effort to save the tree, and just 9 percent were resigned to its departure.

But among the townsfolk alarmed at the prospect of losing the bunya bunya (sacred to aboriginals, some declared), was Barney Aldridge, developer of the project.  It so happens he loves the old tree. Aldridge sent his engineers back to the drawing board. So now the town can rejoice that the bunya bunya is saved and appreciate it even more in the future.

  • Gerry La Londe-Berg

    So, as an outsider from Santa Rosa I read the story simply. There is a town icon (tree). Some person comes up with the silly idea to cut down the town icon tree. The people in a democracy rally around good sense. Good sense prevails. The developer gets credit. This last doesn’t make sense. The assumption should have been that town icons aren’t destroyed by silly ideas or commercial developments – so he facilitated what he should have. I’m happy for the people of Sebastopol and their tree.

  • Karen Donohue

    The incredibly silly idea came from Cal-Trans, of course, but thanks to the community and Barney Aldridge they won’t be able to add this beautiful, iconic tree to their list of victims. Cal-Trans would clearcut everywhere if they could get away with it. Just look at what they’re trying to do to Richardson Grove State Park, the cathedral of old growth redwoods you drive through in southern Humboldt County – http://www.saverichardsongrove.org. And check out the Cal-Trans plot for the Willits by-pass – a 4-lane 6 mile long highway (exactly like I-5) which would cause unnecessary environmental damage to increasingly rare wetlands, salmon-bearing streams and endangered plants. There are alternatives, but they just want to bulldoze their way as they continue to rape and pillage our California. I wish they’d use some of their seemingly endless supply of money to repair the damaged roads in this state instead of these ridiculous boondoggles (Boondoggle: A project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations.)

  • Ann Wallach

    Burlingame residents need your help! Developers have presented plans to redevelop a lot along El Camino Real. A 15 unit luxury condominium building is planned to replace the current small 11 unit low income apartment complex. The developer has applied for a permit to fell a grove of 6 mature trees, including a 100 foot magnificent specimen bunya bunya tree.

    Please tell us how Sebastopol residents managed to save their tree.

    Ann Wallach

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Andrea Granahan is our West County correspondent.
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