Questions as trees get the chop

Tuckfield Street after workers removed 28 trees. 153841


OCEAN Grove Community Association (OGBA) president Michael is keeping an eye on trees at the Tuckfield Street and Marlin Drive intersection.
Mr Harbour said Vicroads have removed 16 more trees (28 in total) than they initially promised last year. The trees had provided vital habitat for native birds.
“Initially they told us they were going to remove about 12 trees,” he said.
He also pointed out that the council never advertised the removal of the trees.
“Most private developers have to go through a public notice process just to remove one tree of significance,” he said.
“So why is there a different rule for statutory authorities?”
Mr Harbour said private developments usually have to replace one tree with three, and questioned why the same did not apply to the council or VicRoads.
VicRoads regional director Mark Koliba said his organisation had worked closely with the council, the community association and environmental experts to preserve the environment.
“We value a close working relationship with the Ocean Grove Community Association and the the council,” he said.
Mr Koliba said the existing trees, removed for new traffic lights, had not naturally vegetated.
He said while initial assessments indicated 25 trees needed to be removed, VicRoads revised the number to 28 based on later investigations.
“Experts have advised us that the health of many of these trees appeared questionable,” he said.
The council recently planted 50 new street trees in The Avenue, 28 of which were funded by VicRoads offsets.
The council’s city services general manager William Tieppo said many of the Tuckfield Street trees were in poor condition, and considered high risk.
“A planning permit was not required in this instance as the trees are not indigenous to Victoria and the roadway is not affected by a Vegetation Protection Overlay,” he said.
Mr Harbour disputed this.
“That’s rubbish,” he said.
“There were maybe one or two trees in poor condition.”
However, he stated that he supported the traffic light project.