The tree to be chopped down is dead centre of the photograph.

The tree to be chopped down is dead centre of the photograph.

This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.   Absent: Clr Iskandar.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERAL: Gardiner/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

Proposed removal of a street tree in Day Street Marrickville – In the Marrickville Council Meeting of August 2013 Mayor Macri put up a Mayoral Minute to remove a street tree outside 5 Day Street Marrickville.  The tree was voted for removal by Mayor Macri & Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Haylen, Woods, Gardener, Tyler & Hanna.  Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks & Ellsmore voted to retain the tree & fix the path & fence.  See – http://bit.ly/19w8PqB

Clr Phillips brought the issue with the following Notice of Motion back to Council on 15th October 2013 –

1. Council conduct its regular community consultation process on the removal of the street tree outside 5 Day Street Marrickville & report back the results of the consultation to the elected Council before removal of the tree; &

2. Council draft & implement a community consultation plan for tree removal decisions initiated by Councillors through notices of motion to ensure that affected residents are made aware of these motions & have the opportunity to provide input prior to the decision being made.  Such consultation may include a notice placed on the tree, a letter to neighbouring residents, & information on Council’s website.”

The Councillors accepted Point 1 of the motion, but Clr Woods moved an amendment to delete Point 2.  The following Councillors voted to delete point 2:  Mayor Haylen, Clrs Woods, Tsardoulias, Marci, Hanna, Garden & Tyler.  Against:  Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks & Ellsmore.  Carried.   I wrote about this issue here – http://bit.ly/GTJjAQ

Council Staff wrote a report on this tree stating that the “mature Corymbia macula (Spotted gum) causing damage to public & private infrastructure was considered a high value public asset that provides many environmental benefits to the area. The single skin low brick boundary fence is not a significant structure.  It is considered reasonable that the fence could be repaired in order for a mature & healthy public asset to be retained.  Council may consider a contribution to this repair.  Footpath damage is evident, but can also be reasonably repaired.  The cost to replace the footpath & repair the wall would be very unlikely to exceed this over several replacement/repair cycles.”   The tree was valued at over $40,000.  See – http://bit.ly/1iV2Y4T

One speaker: For the tree removal.  I am representing the views of 10 residences. They tabled a petition in favour of removing the tree.  We don’t believe that the tree will not cause further damage.  This tree is planted in sandy soil, which is not conducive of a tree that grows to 60-metres.  Marrickville Council’s report does not mention the damage to property.  A precedent was set in Shoalhaven Council where they have to pay $750,000 when a tree fell & killed a person.  No-one knows if a tree is okay unless the roots are excavated.  The paper makes the value of the tree more important than the fence.  How can they tell without excavating the roots? We want the tree removed & replaced with a tree suitable for sandy soil.  We don’t think this will set a precedence.  This is unique because of the sandy topsoil.

Clr Macri:  Moved for the removal of the tree.  I am disappointed that the resident had to be put through this again.  It’s incumbent for us to make the right decision again.

Clr Phillips:  Said he would foreshadow an alternative motion.  We are dealing with this again because other people in Day Street do not know about it.  Community consultation showed quite a few neighbours & others were concerned about the removal of this tree.  The footpath & the fence can be repaired, the infrastructure can be made good & the tree saved.    Motion:  1. Not to remove the tree.  2. Repair footpath urgently.  3. MC to work with residents to fix the fence up to $5,000.  This is a reasonable way forward to save a valuable asset.  $40,000 is a significant asset.

Clr Woods:  The petition was delivered to me on Sunday.  The residents explained that they had problems getting to everyone in the street.  The petition contains 10 signatures from houses.  One resident said we are concentrating on homes immediately affected.  They said 4 residences were reluctant to remove the tree.  There are no winners in tree debates & some residents thought the debate intimidating.

Vote to remove the tree – Mayor Haylen, Clrs Macri, Tsardoulias, Woods, Gardiner, Tyler & Hanna.  Against:  Clrs Leary, Phillips, Brooks & Ellsmore.  Carried.  The tree will be removed.

Here ends the Report for this meeting.

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