Keeping Unley Leafy for Generations to Come. A new Tree Strategy

The current Unley Council, like it’s predecessors, is very keen on keeping Unley leafy for generations to come. Accordingly, we are looking to update our tree strategy.

Keeping Unley leafy for future generations

 

To achieve this we have developed a new “draft” tree strategy. A draft strategy, giving you an opportunity to examine it and provide input into a final draft. The consultation has commenced. We will receive feedback up until 11 May.

I encourage everyone, whether a tree lover or a tree hater to examine the draft.

We are looking to increase our tree canopy cover from the current 26% to 31% by 2045. This matches the State Governments objectives of 30% of the greater metropolitan area having tree canopy.

The strategy identifies a need to consider greening in/on:

  • the open space controlled by Council
  • in our streets
  • on land owned by State or Federal Government
  • on Private land.

 

Council recognises that we are not able to achieve this without your participation. This is because 80% of the area of the City of Unley is under private ownership.

 

In other words, keeping Unley leafy for generations to come will require not just council maximising planting on its own land, but finding ways of encouraging you to do the same. The strategy highlights the reasons for this.

14,000 standard size trees (trees with a diameter of 8 metres) will need to be planted in the next 26 years to achieve the goals. This large target equates to an average of 540 new trees planted per year. As outlined in the strategy, it is recognised that with limited public space, a large number of these trees will need to be planted on private land.

We therefore need to know how you feel about you and your neighbours contributing to this goal by retaining and planting new trees on your respective properties. Your input into how we might encourage you to do this will be appreciated.

Are the Trees in Black Forest Going Missing. And Clarence Park.

The saga of trees in Black Forest going missing continued yesterday with a tree in Byron Road being felled.

 

I found myself cutting my shopping short early yesterday. A distraught rate payer rang me concerned that a lemon scented gum on the property next door was being felled.

The third tree in the adjacent area within twelve months. The second on a neighbouring property to this resident. Changing forever the amenity of this neighbourhood.

The pair of trees in the centre of this picture are both gone missing.

The two neighbouring trees, between them, were a significant contributor to the amenity of the neighbourhood. With both gone there is nothing.

I am not saying nothing left. I am saying nothing. The loss is immeasurable.

I share grief of this rate payer (and others who have contacted me). A fourth tree on my side of the Seaford Line (in Clarence Park) was felled recently. A tree behind my rear boundary. Our amenity has been forever compromised as a result.

 

The Question has been asked, was Council responsible for this occurring?

The tree was on private property. It is one of many trees in the last decade on private land within the Unley Council that have been removed.

Council therefore was not involved. If it were a street or park tree, then obviously it would be Council.

 

A subsequent question raised is what Did Council Do About it?

Prior to ringing me the rate payer had rung the Council, who advised they would contact the contractor. Such was the level of her stress however, I simply had to make sure Council was responding appropriately. If this tree was a regulated tree and approval not sought, then we would need to put a stop to the tree damaging activity

I contacted our Regulatory Management, completed my shopping, deserted my wife and headed down to Byron Road. The removal of the tree was already well advanced when I arrived a short while later.

So! Was the tree protected or not? Was the felling of this tree legal or illegal?

On completing their inspection our inspection team reported to myself and the neighbour. Their conclusion was the tree was not protected under the State Government’s Development Regulations.

The species being cut down has no protection under the regulations if it is within 10 metres of a building. This tree would you believe was 9.7 metres from a building on a neighbouring property.

Does this mean the saga of trees in Black Forest going missing will continue?

Yes it will. The felling of trees such as the four mentioned in this blog post will continue to be felled, unless there is change in the State Legislation.

What can we do about it?

As I noted earlier in this blog the controls are State Government controls, via their Development Regulations. If you want change, you need to speak with your local member of Parliament.

The legislation rightfully must consider the danger the tree may present to person or property. It is however meant to protect trees from indiscriminate felling. Notwithstanding this, it often appears that too much emphasis is put on removing the tree just for the sake of moving it, or because it is simply inconvenient to the home owner.

Out here in the west of the City of Unley that is Jayne Stinson. The member for Badcoe. Elsewhere in the City of Unley the local member (and a member of the Cabinet) is David Pisoni.

I am happy to assist in this process.

You might also benefit from joining a lobby group, the Friends of the City of Unley Society. Their focus is the preservation of our history. That includes saving our trees. Check out their website.

Tree Canopy CoverFortuitously, they will be discussing increasing the green cover of Unley at their next meeting.

The other side of the storey.

But wait. There is more. There is another side of the storey. One that will play out in Council next week. I will blog on this after the Council meeting.