An update on street trees


Story one:

Here’s the lesson for petitions.

If you want an avenue of trees removed then one small street-full of names on a  petition is enough to arrange council approval.

If you want an avenue of trees retained then 2500 names is only enough to get you a long fight.

This is an update on  the street I’ve written about before where council had some insurance claims to deal with in relation to property damage that was alleged to be due to street trees. Council was deemed to be liable for only one claim, but this was enough for them to agree to replace the trees.

The trees were mature camphor laurels which many people dislike because in rainforest and bushland they are a noxious weed. Newcastle City Council classify them as ‘undesirable’. As far as I can tell, the implication of this classification is on how to deal with this species during land or property development.

The trees in the street would have been decades old, would have looked stunning and smelled beautiful in spring. They would have provided shelter for a large number of birds. If Mayfield has any remnant bushland or rainforest that was endangered by these trees I’d love to know about it.

At the time the street’s residents requested permission to remove the trees there was an outcry about council’s projected cost for removing them. The cost was less than expected as it was, I believe, put to tender rather than carried out by council.

The pictures on this page show you how the street is now. The residents have been living with dead trees for months and now those dead trees have been reduced to stumps.

 Story two:

Conditions have been placed by Council on a Housing NSW development * in Mayfield:

‘There are 13 trees proposed for removal, however, Council’s City Arborist did not support the removal of the existing Jacaranda street tree…to the west of the Fig trees. The recommended conditions require the provision of a Tree Protection Plan… 

 ‘The Port Jackson Fig is proposed for removal and the (developer’s) Arborist report considered this tree to be suitable for removal based on the low…suitability of the tree relative to the available space for future growth, its size relative to existing space, poor solar access as well as principles under Crime Prevention through Environmental Design.

Council’s City Arborist raised concern regarding the removal of this tree. The Applicant has requested the removal of this tree to open the front of the site and to allow northern sunlight to access the dwellings in Block 3.

The Applicant proposes to replace the exposed root area with mulch and low growing shade tolerant ground covers, instead of the turf shown on the landscape plan. It is proposed to provide compensatory tree planting on-site…’

In relation to the street trees ,

‘ A Tree Protection Plan… is to be submitted to Council for approval prior to the commencement of any work on-site.

Further information is to be submitted to Council for approval regarding any proposed work on the grassed batter at the north-eastern section of the subject site, adjacent to the footpath where there are extensive surface roots of the Fig street trees.’

It’s a shame that some trees are going from the property and one wonders how it could be easy for anyone to see them as expendable. Here’s what’s going;

The Port Jackson Fig, 5 Eucalypts, one Pittosporum,  one ‘ Golden Cypress, a Bottlebrush, a Jacaranda and  two Cocos Palms.

I can’t imagine having all of those and just giving them up, but then I haven’t had builders and trucks all over my property for months at a time.

This is the Port Jackson fig the developer is going to remove, seen behind the fence.

It’s no wonder council’s arborist expressed concern at removing this tree. How wonderful that the street trees are viewed as valuable.

‘When public trees are managed as assets they gain stature…Arbitrary and expedient tree removal or injury is no longer acceptable since it degrades the asset base and imposes avoidable costs.’

(by Phil Hewett in ‘Risk started the ball rolling, what will sustain it’)

Hear, hear.

*And nothing to do with trees, there’s going to be a Museum of Public Housing opening in Chicago in 2012. That would be really interesting. I do wish we had their ability to fund-raise for such things.   Home



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