Council has a long-standing commitment to preserving the region’s street and park trees and consistently establishing more, Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.
Responding to complaints about the removal of trees in Armidale’s Taylor Street, Councillor Murray said Council took the management of trees on council land very seriously and looked to retain them whenever possible.
“In the case of the trees in Taylor Street, their removal was necessary to install a new water main,” he said.
“The trees’ extensive root systems meant underground boring was not an option and excavations would have damaged a significant proportion of the roots.
“Australian standards stipulate the amount of root removal that would have been required would have compromised the stability of the trees and that would have created an unacceptable public risk.”
Nearby property owners and residents were contacted directly to advise them why the trees were being removed.
Cr Murray said occasional tree removal because of failing health and impacts on infrastructure was also an inevitable part of tree management.
“Council is fortunate to have experienced arborists on staff who are passionate and proud of the trees they manage on behalf of the community. At times, they have to make tough decisions to remove trees because their retention is outweighed by issues such as public safety,” he said.
“Two liquidamber trees were removed from Rusden Street because their roots were damaging the footpath, a resident’s concrete fence and driveway and causing a serious trip hazard. Council often considers options such as root barriers, in combination with footpath reconstruction, but this is seldom successful with this species.
“While liquidambers are beautiful ornamental trees, their expansive root networks mean they are no longer a desirable option for street trees and are now only established in open parkland.”
Cr Murray said the removal of tree when necessary was more than countered by Council’s annual commitment to plant 150 trees each year.
“This commitment ensures that we achieve a considerable net increase in street and park trees taking into account the small percentage of trees that are removed,” he said.
“The number will actually be doubled for 2018/19. A boost in budget allocation will enable us to put 300 new trees in the ground during this financial year.
“We are also rolling out our annual tree planting program into Guyra, Hillgrove, Ebor and Wollomombi.”
Cr Murray said the planting program and tree maintenance were part of Council’s commitment as custodians of Armidale’s treasured street and park trees.
“We’re committed to protecting and developing these important assets for current and future generations,” he said.
Published on 21 Mar 2019