On December 12, Giulia Franschesci posted about the possible removal of the tree on the tree's removal on the Benalla Community Notice Board Facebook page, receiving 87 likes and 45 comments to 24 December.
The tree is described by the applicant for the removal, Dean Steegstra, as being in good condition, with a high significance rating and high roadside conservation value, with a useful life expectancy of 20 plus years and low risk to persons. Experts who carried out ground penetrating radar tests, while stating that the damage to the gas meter is likely caused by tree roots, did not recommend removal of the tree - “Pruning of the identified roots, or other root management options, could be undertaken to resolve the issue.” Retaining the tree and carrying out root pruning, rather than tree removal, appears the appropriate course of action.. Read more
BENALLA RURAL CITY
1 Bridge Street East Benalla 3672
Submission on Planning
13 November 2022
Permit No. PO 148/22
Removal of Tree 13 Bridge Street East Benalla 3672
I commend the Council for its report on the above mentioned tree by Enspec PTY
My concerns for the removal of this tree include
- It is Councils obligation to protect the residents from the predicted rise in deadly heatwaves
- Forecasts of a sharp rise in deaths due to heatwaves, show street trees can reduce temperatures by as much as 10 deg.
- The trees planted in Bridge Street some 23 years ago were undertaken as a long term solution to this problem, to start removing them as they reach a size of usefulness to combat climate change is to defeat the original plans for Benalla.
- The species of tree i.e. Platinus Orientalis was carefully chosen after consultation with Mr. Kevin Heinz, expert in managing tree planting in suburban areas.
- The tree forms part of a well designed avenue its removal would not be in any way advantageous to the general landscape of the town, in fact its removal will be apparent for many years as a mistaken step by the Council.
Is this stated Policy of Council and was it part of the original streetscape development process, or simply a convenient fall-back position now rather than a well thought through and deliberate strategy in which the community was consulted and involved.
Is it known to the community that that the trees will be progressively replaced? Surely the original species selection was done in expectation of the tree’s permanence? Was there consultation and is this an agreed outcome? Is this approach generally adopted by Councils or simply a Benalla-centric practice?
Planting new trees will not help this situation for many years, how fortunate the citizens of this town are that a previous Council had the foresight to plan for the future; the removal of this tree would undermine the forward thinking of that enlightened council.
I refer to the Consultants report on the need to remove this tree and ask the Council to engage an expert on the use of root barriers as has been carried out on numerous sites around Melbourne on much larger trees.
Executive Summary - page 10 of report
The results of the executive summary undertaken by Enspec Environment conclude that:-
Damage to the front of the 13 Bridge Street West East, in the vicinity of the gas meter, is likely to be due to the influence of roots from the council tree. No significant roots were identified elsewhere along the frontage of the properties adjacent test area.
Pruning of the identified roots, or other root management options could be undertaken to resolve the issue.
I therefore request the Council to review their application to remove this tree.
Susan Campbell O.A M.
Landscape Architect .A.I.L.A.
13 November 2022