Eastern Courier Messenger, 22 April 2015
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30 March 2015
I refer to the report on page 12 of The Advertiser, March 30; Green light for $80 million complex. All Unley residents should be rightly concerned about the Development Assessment Commission [DAC] approval of the seven story Cremorne Plaza.
In several significant respects this proposed development does not comply with the City of Unley’s Development Plan, recently amended with State Government approval to comply with the Government’s 30 year plan for Adelaide. This approval ignores various areas of concern raised by City of Unley in their detailed submission to the DAC. This project if it proceeds in the form approved has the potential to set precedence for further non complying development proposals.
This is a city style project being built in suburbia with an impact well beyond the surrounding housing with the potential to significantly disrupt the life of those who live, work, shop and participate in Unley’s community life as well as those who travel through Unley each day.
The Friends of the City of Unley Society [FOCUS] whose focus is on maintaining and enhancing the character and vibrancy of Unley with good development is appalled by the DAC decision.
Friends of City of Unley Society
27 March 2015
Mr. Lachlan Clyne,
City of Unley,
PO Box 1,
Unley SA 5061.
Dear Mr. Clyne,
We are writing to you to suggest that Council consider a specific suggestion to preserve more of the City of Unley’s treescape.
On the evening of 10th March, FOCUS organised a meeting at which Mr. Lee Anderson, Council’s arborist, gave a presentation on the strategic direction and management of the City’s trees. The meeting was attended by six elected members and by members of the Grow Grow Gardening group, located in Unley.
We would like to congratulate Mr. Anderson on his excellent presentation. He drew from his extensive experience in Australia and overseas and provided an excellent briefing on the issues surrounding trees and their management – including their ageing (and therefore the tree replacement strategy), the impact of climate change on tree species, and the potential for pests to impact Unley’s treescape.
During the course of the presentation, Mr. Anderson explained that 26% of Unley is covered by foliage and highlighted the key role this plays in Unley’s liveability and property values. In the question time that followed, two councillors involved in the Development Assessment Panel discussed the difficulty that they face in assessing arborists’ reports tabled by proponents of developments. In some cases, arborists’ reports on particular trees appear to come to very differing conclusions – some recommending removal and others recommending retention. The councillors explained that, in many instances of such conflicting reports, it appears safer to err on the side of safety and support removal of trees. It thus appears that, in the current circumstances, a number of unnecessary removals of established trees may be taking place. It was noted that these trees are generally larger, older and more significant to the amenity of the neighbourhood.
In response, Mr. Anderson commented on the relatively low actual risk posed by trees and advised that there was not presently a requirement for arborists’ reports to adhere to Australian Standards (or equivalent international standard) and suggested that a requirement to do so might reduce the number of conflicting reports and, more generally, lift the standard of assessment.
We consider that there is merit in the City of Unley requiring arborists’ reports presented in support of a development application to adhere to the relevant Australian Standard (or equivalent international standard) and recommend that Council adopts a policy along these lines. The impact of such a requirement should be to ensure that there is a higher standard applied to trees being assessed for removal – thus eliminating unnecessary removal of trees and preserving the best of the treescape for Unley.
The Government requirement that only immediate neighbours are notified of the proposal to remove a Significant or Regulated Tree deprives residents in a more distant and wider area who also appreciate the trees, the opportunity to comment or object. We hope that this matter will be given earnest consideration.
FOCUS has noted that some inner suburban councils in Melbourne have a simple, clear documented process that where there is a request for the removal of a Significant or Regulated Tree the Planning Department staff are required to consult with the Council Arborist and Policy Planner responsible for developing the Historic and Streetscapes Development Plans. FOCUS members have reported that in Unley this does not always occur and frequently they are informed by residents.
We are happy to meet with you or Council officers to discuss this matter further if that would assist.
cc Peter Tsokas
All elected members
Grow Grow Unley
Mr Anderson’s presentation covered a wide range of issues concerning the trees in Unley and time ran out before he could cover all the topics and the question time at the end had to be limited.
Some of the information that Mr Anderson shared was
- Unley covers 14square km with less than 3% open space
- There are approx. 26,000 trees in Unley, 23,000 of these are street trees
- In 2009 when the last study was made of the age of the street trees almost 40% of these were classed as veteran, mature, or semi-mature.
- We need to plant 800-1,000 trees a year to stabilise the current loss rate.
- Council is working on two key documents for a 4 year plan to achieve the goal to maintain our tree numbers in the public areas.
- Since the State Government changed the legislation in November 2011 making it easier to remove regulated trees on private property trees have been destroyed at an astounding rate.
The key challenges and threats are:
- Urban infill
- Climate change, extreme weather events, droughts, storms, flooding.
- Heat island effect
- Pests and diseases.
These old trees appear to be in good health & clearly contribute to the amenity & healthy bird population in Unley.
On Google Earth it is impressive to see the width of the canopies & the height of the trees & their contribution to the streetscape.
If you wish to help preserve these trees please send in an objection to Unley Council before Friday the 27th of March.