Unley Trees Under Threat

South Australian Power Networks have entered Unley to start “pruning”trees as part of their legislated obligation to make their power lines safe.


You may have heard that this pruning exercise may be for want of a better word devastating to the trees of Unley. If not I specifically direct you to a post on this blog site back on April 3 which you can view here.

As I indicated in that blog post your Council is doing it believes everything it legally can to minimize the impact on our streetscapes.

Our Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, has sent every rate payer, resident and business a letter explaining what we are doing and directing you to how you may make observation as and when the contractors enter your street. The map in my April 3 post shows whether or not your street is affected.

It appears we may have had delivery issues with this letter. If you have received it great. If not here it is below.

www.unley.sa.gov.au_webdata_resources_files_let - Mayor Lachlan Clyne 3 2015 - nonresidents v1-1


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.


Ormonde Avenue Streetscape Review (Street Tree Renewal)

Ormonde Avenue Residents should have  received a letter by now advising of Council’s wish for their contribution into determining the future of the tree streetscape in Ormonde Avenue.


Ormonde Avenue, Millswood

Ormonde Avenue, Millswood

Council has a policy to replant trees in an organised, systematic way as part of a strategy aimed at avoiding all or most of their trees coming of age at the one time.


When we review a street and determine that trees in that street have reached their useful life expectancy we  see this as an opportune time to reinvigorate the streetscape.

It is a program of proactively ensuring we have new growth in a timely orderly fashion.

As part of this proactive program a detailed assessment has been undertaken on all the street trees in Ormonde Avenue and it has identified that a significant proportion of the trees are in poor condition and require replacement.


The challenge now is to determine if we replace only those in severe condition, consider replanting the whole street or ignoring the findings and replace trees on a reactive basis. Such a question must be considered in collaboration with the residents of the street. I trust they have received their letters by now.

To aid in the process of working out where to from here a street meeting has been organised by our Sustainable Landscape Specialist Trevor Stein. It will be at the corner of Ormonde Avenue and Lloyd Avenue next Wednesday, the 11th March between 4.00 and 6.00 pm.

I intend to attend so I too can join in the conversation and hear from you what your thoughts are. If you live in Ormonde Avenue please take part in this review. It is your street and your contribution is valued.





Storms hit Unley hard

The storms last weekend wrecked havoc around Adelaide but especially so in Unley.

I was focused on damage in Cromer Parade Millswood and then found a private tree in George Street has brought down the power lines. This caused a blackout for half of Clarence Park I understand. I have since heard of a tree in Dunrobin Street Black Forest that was the subject of some debate a couple of years back had also impacted on the power lines.

Well Guess what guys. If your street suffered and you have yet to see a response from Council spare a thought for our management and workers. the following is an extract of what was communicated to elected members by our General manger of Infrastructure today.

Currently we have had very close to 300 Customer Requests related to the storm.

While we had several reports of fence damage and one report of car damage on Charles Street the vast majority have been related to trees. On Friday night there was 8 reports of power lines down , caused by trees falling onto them.
Obviously this is a difficult time as we are not at full staff levels with many taking leave. However we have asked some to come in & others have worked long hours, particularly over the weekend causing disruption to their Christmas celebrations. We have also engaged contractors, but only when necessary.

Due to the large amount of clean-up I’m sure you’d understand that we have only been actioning urgent or high priority Customer Requests over the last few days.

We have now completed all critical clean ups to make sure all sites are safe, however there is still debris on some footpaths and a large amount of leaf matter remains in the water table which we will clean up in the near future.

The remaining clean-up is expected to be completed by 3rdJanuary.

So please be patience guys as we address the plethora of clean ups needed. 

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.

Dunrobin Street Streetscape consultation.

The results of the consultation on the Dunrobin Street Streetscape are in.

There is a clear majority NOT in favour of removing the trees in this street and replacing them with a new species. Not that I was around way back but I believe this is in keeping with a previous survey some years back.

We have also received summaries of the independent arborist report on all the trees in this street and the building inspection report on cracking in houses suspected to be caused by trees in the street. These reports indicated

1    That two trees do need removal due to poor health and structure and some need pruning.
2    The concerns regarding cracking are ill founded.

Jennie and I will be discussing and reviewing this at our ward briefing later this week with senior management from Council’s administration.

Dunrobin Street Street Trees

If you live in Dunrobin Street you would already know that residents have their chance to have a say after the receipt of an Arborists Report and a Building Inspection Report.

The aborist report I can say has identified two trees that should be removed. The Inspection report has indicated the adjacent trees are not causing structural interference to the houses that were thought to compromised.

Anyone in Dunrobin Street reading this post and has not sent in their response to our survey, please do it now because you only have until Friday of next week, the 2nd November.
To cut to the chase what we are asking people is three questions:
Would you support the removal and replacement of all (or the majority of) trees with a new species of tree, decided in consultation with Dunrobin St stakeholders?
If no then you don’t need t say anything else.
If Yes to above would you prefer:
A Staged approach to removal & replacement (potential 3 year program?) OR

All trees removed simultaneously in Year 1?




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.

Merlon Avenue progresses

Merlon Avenue (as promised) has seen action this week.

The repaving has been executed this week and while it may look barren it is a great improvement on what was. I am pleased to see this work finally done as it is one of the first concerns that I was asked to look at by a Resident of this fair City.

We just await now the planting of the trees.

Merlon Avenue Update

The work I have noted in previous blogs has been included in the budget that was passed last Monday night.

Footpaths on both sides of the road have been included in the budget. Once the footpaths are done we will be planting replacement trees and I can confirm they will be Koelreuteria Paniculata.

Dunrobin Street Update

An independent report is to be conducted by the arborist Michael Palamountain from Tree Environs into the trees in Dunrobin Street.

Inspired by concerns from residents in this street we are undertaking this assessment, notwithstanding a similar assessment was carried out some years ago.

We will be guided by this report before taking any further action. If the arborist report indicates that these trees have the potential to contribute to cracking in adjacent homes we are likely to then inspect the buildings in question to ascertain what if any damage has been done.

This is a process that will take some time.

While it is happening I ask all residents to appreciate this is NOT council driven and that we have to respond to concerns expressed by your neighbours.

Merlon Avenue to get their replacement trees

Replacement Trees are due to be planted in Merlon Avenue in April, subject to weather/ground conditions.

They will, after consultation with residents of this street be Koelreuteria Paniculata (Golden Rain Tree).

This will be good to see as another one of those streets that I was involved in after receiving a concern from one of the residents.