Emotions around regulated and significant trees to be investigated

In the absence of our Mayor, I attended today’s Local Government Association AGM. It was a good day for me, and I expect everyone in our community will be pleased with the result.

On behalf of Unley Council I was able to address a problem with our State’s Development Assessment procedures that create conflict between groups of people causing emotional stress. A chance to do something around opposing emotions around regulated and significant trees to be investigated

We put forward a motion on the use of independent experts for assessment of regulated trees. The aim of the motion was to provide more clarity and assurance around the assessment of regulated and significant trees under the Development Regulations.

It allows people to believe council is allowing the removal of trees that are healthy, and not posing a threat to person or property. At the same time others can see council as ignoring the safety of people (particularly children), in favour of keeping trees.

This comes from there being potentially two reports with conflicting expert observations.

The motion below was put forward by me on the day and seeks for the emotions around regulated and significant trees to be investigated with a view to avoiding conflict and disappointment. It had a 90.9% support from those councils present.

 

That the Annual General Meeting requests the LGA to: 

  1. investigate with councils and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure the development of a Planning Circular which outlines the ‘special circumstances’ which should apply to request an expert or technical report relating to a tree; and 
  1. advocate for arborists involved in the assessment of Significant and Regulated Trees to be included in the Accredited Professionals scheme and Code of Practice to be established under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act.

We now await the investigations.

Update on Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig Tree

This blog is an update for all who are interested in the Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig Tree.

 

This updates my previous blogs from December last year and earlier this month.

Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig TreeThis morning I had further discussions with our Arborist and our Sustainable Landscape Specialist. We discussed both long term and short term actions. We need to not only protect the tree which has at least another 20 years life left in it but ensure reasonably the safety of the public (you and me).

Of immediate need is to provide better protection for the public. Our staff pre-empted a request by me to change the barrier to a mesh barrier rather than the single strand barrier currently in position. I have asked also that we sign post the area as an added dissuasion to public accessing the area beneath the crown of the tree. Expect this within the next week.

A long term solution could be as far away as at least August. We need to determine what risks remain with various options that may be considered. Restricting or maybe even preventing access under the Port Jackson is being debated as we speak.

It is likely, as I reported previously, that the benches and Bar B Que will need to be relocated elsewhere in the Oval precinct. Finding a suitable shaded spot may prove a challenge however so whatever we wind up proposing will probably need to have artificial  shade included. As Goodwood Oval is community land a public consultation will become part of the process.

This as always will be time consuming.

It is currently unfunded but I will be ensuring that we include a satisfactory budget during our current budget considerations for next year in readiness for a decision after consultation.

The Goodwood Oval Port Jackson Fig Tree is a much loved tree and very much part of the amenity of the Oval precinct.

 

Mixed Message for our Moreton Bay Fig

Late last year I blogged on the limb failure of the Moreton Bay Fig tree (or should I say Port Jackson Fig) located in the north west quadrant of Goodwood Oval. This blog is the latest on what we have found about the trees health and its future.

 

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Tree

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Tree

I visited the site with Council’s arborist this morning and he confirms the original assessments as it being in good health. It’s health in fact is typical of the species and its age. He and the independent arborist that carried out specific tests on the tree I reported in my last blog both conclude that we do have some management issues going forward to protect this lovely tree.

The Port Jackson (as we should get used to calling it) is a significant tree. So much so it is included in Council’s Development Plan Significant Tree Register. This provides it some pretty basic protections.

The specialised inspection has revealed that while in good general health it has been compromised. Foliage colour, size and density are all normal and there are no signs of pests or disease within the crown.

The limb failure has been diagnosed as the result of fungal degeneration and there is more present. These failures have resulted in a large void and altered wind dynamic. The trees overall integrity is not compromised but it has been assessed as there being a moderate risk of further limb failure particularly before regrowth stabilises the tree long term. I have had the regrowth pointed out to me.

Thankfully the risk has not been diagnosed as high as this would probably see a recommendation for its removal. Having said that a medium risk is sufficient for us to take action to minimise risk to all those who use Goodwood Oval and in particular the kids who climb the tree.

Pruning options are limited so we are likely to consider repositioning the permanent seats and the bar b que to another area. This will challenge us as any repositioning of this facility will require shade. Our arborist and I discussed some options but we will need to give this some more thought before going out for your thoughts and opinions.

 

 

 

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Struggling

Late last week I was given news that our much loved Morton Bay Fig tree at Goodwood Oval had lost two limbs.

 

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Tree

Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig Tree

 

P1550543

Safety Exclusion Zone

I was also advised at the time that a preliminary assessment of the tree by Council’s arborist indicated that it remains in good health in spite of the limb failure. This tempered my initial concern when hearing what had happened.

 

As a safety measure Council did rope of the area as a safety exclusion zone to discourage people from accessing the area of the failure.

 

This tree is a much loved tree by those that live around or use Goodwood Oval. My family have enjoyed a number of picnics under its foliage. Concerned for the Fig and after a conversation with another passionate resident I called by yesterday to check it and this prompted me to ask for confirmation that the tree is in fact in good condition.

 

Decay in Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig

Decay in Goodwood Oval Morton Bay Fig

Our arborist today attended the site at Goodwood Oval again to assess the tree for the second time. Whilst his current findings are the same as initial observations on Friday, that the tree does not pose an immediate risk he is seeking to explore further to ensure his assessment is accurate.

 

He has organised a further specialist assessment of the tree’s structural integrity using decay detection equipment. This is a specialist exercise that will need to be carried out by a third party in the new year.

 

We will as a safety measure be extending the exclusion zone around the tree until such time as we have undertaken.

 

 

 

 

A Plea to Residents

A recent inspection by our administration revealed a number of street trees in Ormonde Avenue, Millswood have died and should be replaced.

 

This blog post is a plea after my blog post of 5 March to you to advise your council on what you see as the right action going forward.

Ormonde Avenue, Millswood

Ormonde Avenue, Millswood

Mindful of the fact that over 50% of our 26,000 street and park trees are mature aged trees and will reach their maximum lifespan sooner rather than later they (our administration) determined it would be prudent to investigate and consider the possibility of either replacing the whole street of trees now or staging their replacement.

We do have an emerging dilemma facing Council. If we are not proactive about creating a second generation of street and park trees we may find in the not distant future that the majority of our mature trees (over 13,000 of them) may die in a relatively short span of time. This potentially could see the City of Unley not live up to its logo.

Can you imagine 13,000 trees needing to be replaced in say a  10 year time frame, 1300 per year. Our current proactive program is seeing us replace only 300 per year. Add the loss of private trees at an ever increasing rate as people buy into leafy Unley and then remove the tree in their backyard and the picture is not so bright.

Residents of Ormonde Street have an opportunity to contribute to the decision making process having been surveyed just last week.

The decision made on this street is an important one. You have a great opportunity that most will not have and that is to inform how we address not just Ormonde Avenue but the rest of the City of Unley going forward. Other streets will inevitably present as this one has, an like I suggest neighbouring Millswood Crescent may in the not too distant future.

Please, please, please have your say. If you don’t respond to the survey we will not know your opinion and you may by default not be happy with the decision made.

Please consider what we are trying to address and carefully consider what you think is best, not just for you and the neighbourhood today. Consider your kids and grand kids who will inherit the answer we arrive at. And don’t be afraid to offer something different to the options proposed.

The future of Ormonde and maybe the City of Unley is in your hands.

 

Trees in Unley

The Friends of the City of Unley Society (FOCUS) is putting on a free evening at the Unley Community Centre in Arthur Street Unley this Wednesday night commencing at 7.30 pm concerning  tree management.

 

If you have a passion for the trees of Unley, whether you love them or hate them I encourage you to come along to this free meeting.

FOCUS have invited Council’s Technical Officer, Arborist Mr Lee Anderson along to explain Council’s management program for their trees, both those in the public arena and those on private properties.

I have got to know Lee very well having worked with him on a number of tree related projects. I respect him for his knowledge and his understanding of the relationship trees have with us and our community.

Lee’s address will give an insight into the issues and outline:

  • Council’s Vegetation Policy and procedures
  • The tree management plan including that for Significant and Regulated Trees
  • Tree life cycle and when to intervene
  • Importance of habitat retention and biodiversity
  • The role of the community in the greening of Unley

A free presentation not to be missed! All welcome.

I particularly invite residents from my side of the City, the western suburbs as his address is as important to us as it is for those in the east of the City. Indeed those who have been recently invited by council to look at renewing their street trees might find this a timely opportunity. Put it in your diary and I will see you there.

Following the presentation and discussion a light supper will be provided followed by a short General Meeting for FOCUS.

Here is a special opportunity to meet Lee and hear how the City of Unley manages trees in the public and private realms

 

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.

Replacement Tree program

The rail revitalisation tree replacement program is about to get under way and will be completed during this planting season.

Readers of this blog would be aware that Council got DPTI to commit to funding the replacement on a 3 for 1 basis the loss of significant trees as a result of the recent rail revitalisation project. The good news is they will be funding and we will be planting 64 trees that will have the potential to reach Regulated/Significant size at maturity.

We have received the planting schedule and Goodwood South will get 6 plantings in Page Park, 4 in Dora Guild Playground and 6 in Princess Margaret Playground.

Tree Replacement- to chop or not to chop

The devastation that has occurred with a significant loss of trees in the last 15 months in Clarence Park & Forestville has tested many in those suburbs, including me.

A number of you will remember my unsuccessful stance to save a tree in Princess Margaret Playground. A number who approved the removal of the trees along Canterbury Terrace and Parker Terrace have regretted giving their approval.

Council has recently after much angst on the east side of the City approved the replacement of the trees in Randolph Avenue at Fullarton. We have also been accused of removing trees that did not need to be removed and threatened with legal action for not removing trees that one of our residents believes to be unsafe.

Recent individual conversations with some residents has prompted me asking questions on notice which have been answered as part of the Agenda for Monday’s upcoming Full Council Meeting. The question seeks to understand what legacy we (the current council) is leaving future generations of council and their residents.

I have two focuses in asking the questions. The first are we replacing trees at a rate that will ensure we remain a leafy suburb or will our current replacement program result in a sudden need to remove a significant portion of our street trees because they all die around the same time. If this were to happen we would become a treeless City for a significant period of time.

The other focus is that if this were to happen what rate rises would the then Council have to make in order to fund such a large undertaking of City wide tree removal.

And ,make no mistake, if we are not replacing trees at an appropriate rate then both observations will be reality.

So I asked what is our current replacement rate and is it sustainable and, if not are we looking to improve this in the upcoming budget process to avoid a log jam later on.

The answer: We are replacing 300 trees per annum and with 10,500 mature trees in the City of Unley it would take 35 years to complete a replacement program. This is clearly not sustainable.

And yes to the latter question. Admin have a new budget initiative for the upcoming year to prevent a log jam later.

Tree replacement is a sensitive program that must be planned or and programmed with care, so as to maintain the amenity of an area now and into the future, near and far.

A Celebration for once on the Corridor

Residents of Cromer Parade will be celebrating tomorrow afternoon at 5.00 pm with a flag raising.

The celebration of course is probably the most accomplishment of G-RAG during the liaisons with DPTI on the issues that the rail upgrade caused to our suburbs.

Unfortunately I have another commitment at that time but in my absence may I say this:

“As your local representative for the first time on Unley Council, I take pride in being part of a community that not only cherishes its environment but had the strength of character, but also the maturity to meet the threat on our neighbourhood with calm and reasoned debate and action. It has been a difficult and at times an energy sapping and emotionally draining year. We paid a huge price during the time DPTI trespassed into our space, some of us more than others, but the price was worth it. The price of inaction or inappropriate action on our part would have been far greater.
I encourage all of us to keep this community spirit as other major projects touch on our door steps again.
Well Done everyone”.


Unley not fairing well with Credibility, Transparency and Trust.

Credibility, Transparency and Trust are probably the most important ingredients of good government. And right now in the Goodwood South Ward the City of Unley is struggling with all three.

It hurts me to say this as I have always felt, long before I became a Ward Councillor 3 years ago, that Unley is one of the better councils. I still do mind you but as a member of that organisation I am being challenged however with this paradigm.
Unfortunately our credibility will always be challenged when people perceive we are responsible for matters that the state government or other government institutions are getting wrong. Guilty by association as it were. Lets face it we are all government aren’t we.
There has been much of that in the last year, courtesy of the rail revitalization project. We have been inundated with claims by DPTI that Council is responsible for this, Council is responsible for that; or Council approved this, or (more recently) Council staff approved this. Jennie & I have been fighting to maintain our credibility in the face of what seemed an unending barrage by DPTI deflecting their competencies toward council.
That is not the purpose of this blog however.
Council don’t need DPTI to look foolish, we can do that all by ourself. I can think of many things in my 3 years as a Councillor, including the Kelvin Avenue consultation that impacted on Goodwood South residents.
Ironically we have not made a good fist of things in one of the very areas that have created angst and mistrust by DPTI, the area of Canterbury Terrace Black Forest. We have had three overlapping consultation projects going on concerning these residents (and a small section of Byron Road).

First was an LATM (which I have posted on previously and will again soon), followed by seeking opinions on the future of the Canterbury Terrace, Parker Terrace Trees which were dying or dead. And then finally a consultation about re configuring Canterbury Terrace due to the impact on increased use by bike riders due to the construction by DPTI of the Greenways bike path.

It has culminated this week with Council chopping down a tree in the Princess Margaret Playground that DPTI had twice attempted to late last year because it interfered with their infrastructure. In spite of removal having State Government Development Assessment Commission approval I was able to save the tree because it clearly had no impact on the electrification of the rail corridor. You can read about this in previous posts on this blog site.

Unfortunately Council later attempted to remove the tree and again I was able to put a stop on it as due process demanded we go through a local development assessment process. This was agreed to by our management. Councils arborist had recommended its removal after inspecting it as part of the DPTI scene previously noted. He found the tree to no long be stable and to be structurally unsound and therefore unsafe.

We proceeded with the development assessment process, sending out invitations as required under the Act to people owning property within 60 metres of the playground who may wish to make a representation on the removal. This letter went out on 6 January, received by me as one of those residents early this week. We had until 21st January to make the representation.

To my utter amazement we (yes WE, Council) came in yesterday and DOWN she came. So we send out invitations to people to provide their input and assist the decision making process but ignore this and chop it down any way.

So what is a guy, sorry an elected member, to do about this. I cant get the tree back, but by golly I can challenge our CEO and our General managers as to how we can allow this to happen. An administration acutely aware of the devastation that the people of this immediate neighbourhood have felt at the hands of DPTI, and to a lesser extent by ourselves. and acutely aware of how sensitive these people are towards this tree, allowed this to happen the way it did.

Our administration were well aware of my campaign to save the tree from the DPTI marauders. Management agreed with me that, even if this tree was suffering, that we should avoid doing anything to it for two years because this neighbourhood had suffered too much loss already.

Our arborist’s concerns outweighed this however and I agreed to allow it to go through a development assessment process to ensure full transparency. Hence the letters to neighbours within 60 metres.

At the end of the day, with the information I now have, the tree was never going to survive the process. It was so severely compromised it appears it presented an immediate danger to the kids in the playground, and I am not going to argue this with our arborist.

Section 54 of the Development Act 1993 allows for immediate removal of a significant tree in this circumstance and with a retrospective approval to follow. This is what finally happened here but to happen in the face of it going through the process of an approval just smacks of ineptitude in the eyes of a public sympathetic to the tree, and a public licking its wounds from the previous 12 months of DPTI activity and having now a level of mistrust for anything government.

A lot of damage has been done and I have sought and been granted an audience with our CEO to address how we can allow such a mess to occur and how to prevent it happening in the future, or at least reduce the chances of it happening in the future. I will take him through a series of events that I don’t want to bore you all with here.

Thank you also to those encouraging me to stick at this and concerned for me that I should have to.

Council to pursue Legal redress on damaged trees

Council on Monday night directed our management to look into two issues that have come out of the rail revitilisation projects. They are dilapidation of council assets and compensation for trees lost by the revitilisation works.

Dilapidation 

Goodwood South’s own, Cr Jennie Boisvert successfully moved as follows:

In relation to dilapidation of Council owned assets as a result of construction
work related to the Goodwood Junction rail project being undertaken by DPTI
Council request Administration to:
1. Identify any long term damage that has resulted in reducing the
lifespan of Council assets such as roads, footpaths, and signs, that
may not need immediate replacing.
2. Negotiate with DPTI an agreed amount of money to compensate for
this loss to Council.
3. Prepare a report for Council on how this will best be managed before
signing off on the agreement with DPTI.

Significant Trees

A motion put by Cr Michael Saies and successfully amended by me to extend the investigation from one tree (the tree in  Arundel Ave) to all trees was also successful. This will include the two trees recently destroyed during the installation of signalling adjacent Clarence Park Station.

This motion simply asks our administration to 

1   investigate and prepare a report into the damage or removal of any trees caused by DPTI or its contractors working on the Rail Revitalisation Projects in Unley.
2   investigate whether prosecution could be pursued by the Council, under the Development Act, 1993, against any contractor, the Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure and/or some other 
person.

Canterbury Concerns Cause Conflict

While we await our administrations efforts to provide options for two way vehicular access fear is emanating in and around Canterbury Terrace that they may not see their trees being replaced.

It appears there is a belief out there, and I have heard it from at least 5 residents now, that council has made a decision to abandon tree replacement to allow 2 way car traffic and that we are avoiding letting our residents know; to be less than transparent as it where.

Let me assure everyone that this is NOT the case.


Yes, council is responding to an overwhelming call to ensure two way traffic. Clearly residents in streets other than Canterbury Terrace stand the chance of having extra traffic down their street. It is only fair and reasonable that we respond to this concern. The concern was expressed in force to council after a local resident not living in this street galvanised support and it would be fair to say that most who responded may well have done so without realizing that this might mean the loss of the trees.
My post on this blog site back on the 16th August http://donpalmer.org/?p=447 indicated we (Council) were looking at additional options. This post clearly indicated an option provided to Jennie & I back then included replacing the trees.
What I did not indicate back then is that we have asked admin to look at an option for angled parking in Parker Terrace. We have yet to hear back from them and it may or may not prove a suitable option. Time will tell and if felt worthy of pursuing, this will extend the consultation because residents east of the line will need to be included in the next round of consultation.
So that everyone is on the same page the following is my understanding of the situation we are addressing. With the advent of extra bike traffic (and how much is not known) we will have a safety issue at the East avenue intersection.
It is as far as I can see a situation where we cannot have two directions of cars, bikes, parking and trees. The road simply is not wide enough to accommodate all these components. And that is based on the regulations managed by DPTI.
Bikes are a non negotiable. We cannot refuse to allow the bikes coming along the State Government built Greenways path between Emerson Station and Clarence Park Station. And neither would we want to.
So something else has to give. It will either be south bound car traffic, parking or trees. We could of course ignore safety and wait for an accident and then be criticized (rightfully) by all and sundry for not having done something.
Problem is, with all things council, it takes forever to make a decision, something I grapple with as a self employed small business owner used to making decisions. But it has to be this way, as we need to take on board the feelings and thoughts of those most affected and that (sorry to say) takes time. Yes transparency dictates the need to take this time, improving the chances of getting the decision right.
Please be assured no decisions have or will be made without further consultation.
Yes! unlike our recent experiences in Goodwood South where the State Government have paid (according to residents) lip service to consultation, we will keep you in the loop all the way and take on board what you say. 
It is why Local Government is just that, Local; and why it should be retained.

Trees Suffer in Goodwood South Ward

Two significant council trees (one in Clarence Park, one on Millswood) are coming down overnight and this morning.

I came into two pieces of communication from Council staff late yesterday informing me that two trees are set to come down.

The first of these was in Frederick Street Clarence Park, a victim it would seem from yesterday’s storms. The tree was leaning across the road held up by the power lines above.

After waiting for SA Power Networks to turn the power off the tree was brought down before it could do harm to person or property. Sad to see such a significant contributor to our community having to come down.

The other tree, in Arundel Avenue Millswood I was advised is also leaning and unsafe but not a victim of mother nature. This one was a victim of the adjacent rail works. This tree is coming down, probably as I write this blog post.

Residents adjacent were letter boxed last night by DPTI explaining the circumstances. From that letter we read    “Accidental excavation within the rail corridor has encroached within the Structural Root Zone of this tree and many medium to large diameter roots have been severed, compromising the integrity of the tree, making it unsafe. Removal of this tree is scheduled to take place on”.

Two independent arborists, one employed by the principal contractor York-Thiess Joint Venture and one subsequently commissioned by Council both concluded that “the tree poses a significant risk to public safety having a high potential for total failure.”

This is another chapter in the relationships between the locals in this area and DPTI during the rail revitalisation works and I dare say locals will not be amused. The letter goes to great lengths to justify what is happening but no mention of “Sorry” for the lack of effort to protect the tree, which was a condition of development approval.

Aroha Terrace Treescape

Concerns expressed earlier this year by a resident near Aroha Terrace are close to resolution.

This resident correctly identified a number of trees along the tram corridor were looking structurally unsound. This prompted our staff to review all the trees along Aroha Terrace.
A  number of trees were found, after an arborist assessment, to be suspect. Residents in this street were then asked for their observations before proceeding further.
As two of the trees were classified as Regulated or Significant Trees they had to be approved for removal via a Development approval. This went before our Development Assessment Panel this week as there were unresolved representations against removal.
I am a member of our Development Assessment Panel. As the local elected member, who was involved in the process of assessment and who has a commercial relationship with one of the respondents, I did not participate as I declared I had a conflict of interest.
The panel approved removal of the two trees in question, conditional on the trees be replaced by the planting of 5 new mature trees within 12 months.The attached DAP minutes refer http://www.unley.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/DAP%20Minutes%20May%202013.pdf

A chance to preserve the history of Black Forest

We have a chance to save a part of the history of Black Forest when Council next meets. If you want to be part of this come along and let Council know you care.


Kate Hubmayer cares. She is asking to present a deputation to Council at our next meeting, which will be on Monday 25th February at the Unley Civic Centre, commencing at 7.00pm.

The deputation will be early and I expect the item for decision will likely be early too.

So what part of the history of Black Forest are we focusing on. We are looking to heritage list at least one of the two Grey Box trees at the rear of a Winifred Avenue property abutting (at the southern end) the Black Forest Primary School Forest Avenue Reserve.

These two trees are both classified regulated trees under the Development Act but they are more than just significant. They are Eucalyptus Microcarpa trees and as far as I can make out they are the only remaining remnants of the species after which Black Forest was named.

The motion will be looking at whether or not the trees, or at least one of them, be placed on the heritage register. This would set a precedent as no tree has been added to the register since it was adopted over 30 years ago.

It has been suggested that our premier Jay Wetherill saw the trees on a visit to the school whilst he was still Education Minister and he commented that the trees ‘must be protected and incorporated into the reserve’. Incorporating them into the reserve is another issue to explore in the future but at the very least we should give them heritage status first.


Come along and provide support for Kate as she encourages Council to vote to save the trees.

Village Green

Prior to the Extension soon to commence the old fig tree in the Village Green was removed today.

The tree was in relatively poor condition and had a terrible shape which could not be remedied.

From a practical perspective, it offered little if no shade and was in a position that made it awkward for organisers of community events. We have had a number of complaints in the past year about its look and shape.

Then extension to the green previously reported on in this blog will hopefully get under way early next year. As we work up some further concepts for the village green over the next 12 months or so, we will look at planting some additional mature trees in appropriate locations to maintain a balance between open usable space and shade. 
 
On a positive note, the new benches and table are proving to be popular and well utilised and we will look at installing one or two more on the green.

Dunrobin Street – Closer to a Solution

After an arbicultural assessment of all the trees in Dunrobin Street and a structural report on two houses in this street thought to be damaged by trees, we should soon be in a position to move forward on the issues raised with the trees in Dunrobin Street.

I had forgotten to write about a briefing Jennie & I had a bit over a week ago until talking with one of the residents in Dunrobin Street earlier today.

We were (Jennie & I) given a plan of the trees showing which ones needed attention, including only two who would likely be recommended for removal and replacement. We were also given a verbal briefing regarding the structural status of the two houses.

I expect we will soon be in a position to have a recommendation going forward that we can put to the residents in the street.

Are the Trees on Aroha Terrace dangerous

A question was recently raised by a concerned resident of Black Forest about the safety of the trees along the tram rail corridor now that we are encouraging car parking along the street.

At the time of the request Jennie & I were of the belief that an assessment of the trees had been made at the commencement of the project to upgrade Aroha Terrace. We weren’t sure however.

We can now report that an assessment was made back then. Our arborists have also assessed the trees again as a result of the concern expressed to us.

This assessment has concluded that the risk is no more elevated than previous to the commencement of the project.

The assessment then was that no significant or long-term effects upon the trees are likely to be felt for a variety of reasons, including the ability of the species type to withstand root disturbance, the health and performance of the trees, the conditions in which they have thus far thrived, and their continuing water source including the areas north of the trees (rail transport corridor).

This is good news.

Of course there is always A risk with trees.

We will continue therefore to monitor the health and performance of the trees.