Tuesday 15 May 2012
Yesterday’s removal of large fig trees from an Adamstown Park demonstrated that Newcastle Council is now acting on the threat it made in its internal review of the Laman Street trees matter to remove significant trees without consultation with elected representatives, or the community, Greens candidate for Ward 2, Therese Doyle, said.
Ms Doyle said she had been alerted to the tree removal operation in Arthur Park by community members, and had visited the site and spoken to residents in the area who were very upset that the council was removing four large fig trees from the park.
“One of the residents told me that she had been writing letters to the council over the past five years, but had not received any response until recently, when the council told her that they would be removed.
Residents were not told until Wednesday (9 May) that the trees were to be removed,” Ms Doyle said.
“Residents said they had received a council leaflet (headed “Trees Working for You”) in their letterbox late last week telling them that the trees were to be removed on the grounds that they were “in serious decline” and that there were “no remedial options available”.
“This highlights the seriousness of the problem,” Ms Doyle said. “Trees are set to be unilaterally removed all over the city, without any serious examination of alternative ways of managing any problems they might present.
“The removal of these trees will significantly affect the amenity of the neighbourhood and these residents have been told nothing.
“Five more mature fig trees are slated for removal from Gregson Park in Hamilton. Who knows how many more will go under this new approach?
“These sorts of decisions are not merely “operational matters” – they are policy decisions requiring a balance between costs and benefits.
“While costs might involve management of the trees over some years, preserving mature trees provides a multitude of benefits outlined in Council’s Urban Forest Policy. These are matters for the elected council in consultation with the community.
“Newcastle’s elected council needs to take back responsibility for these important types of policy decisions,” Ms Doyle said.
For more information or comment, contact Therese Doyle (Greens candidate for Newcastle Ward 2) on 0434 257 892