The Trees of Heywood Park present challenges to Council

The trees in one of Councils more popular parks, Heywood Park, are coming under scrutiny. In a report tabled tonight at this Council’s first meeting the health and structural integrity of a number of trees in this park are being questioned.¬†

 

This follows a number of failures in recent years of Heywood Park and adjacent trees and will no doubt attract the attention of many a resident of Unley and users of the park. Trees are one of the more passionate areas of debate we have in Unley (and other inner suburban councils for that matter).

It is also generally a polarised debate with no middle ground.

Heywood Park

The report tabled tonight, which is merely an opportunity for Council to be briefed on the issue, I believe recognises this and takes a responsible approach.

It (the report) correctly identifies that not only is this one of the few natural settings we have within our city boundaries it is also the venue for much public activities, from play activities for all ages to passive recreation and for high profile events. One such event (in the current Ignite Unley program) is scheduled for the 30th January next.

A number of significant tree failures in recent years has prompted administration to review the health of the trees in this park. We have  duty of care to ensure that Heywood park, indeed all our parks are safe for people to carry out the various activities that they do. We also have a responsibility to maintain a healthy, sound stock of trees and to preserve all significant trees.

Some 40 trees have been identified by an independent arborist as requiring removal, with a number of other trees requiring pruning and maintenance to varying degrees. Nine of these are either regulated or significant and will require development approval. I expect an such application will find its way to the Development Assessment Panel of which I am a currently member in the very near future.

Public notification is required under the Development Act but only to those residents that live within 60 metres of “a development”. I expect this may be widened in this instance. Notwithstanding this it may be that only those living within 60 metres can legally make a representation. With so many having a “relationship ” with Heywood Park I will be following this with interest.

There is a strict procedure that the panel will have to follow when comes the time to assess any application and I expect, as has always been the case, that they will on this occasion.