Gorgeous and much loved avenue of Poplar trees along the Cooks River Foreshore.  The gas pipes travel this route.

Gorgeous and much loved avenue of Poplar trees along the Cooks River Foreshore. The gas pipes travel this route.

I have been aware of this issue for a while since first reading about it on Facebook. Apparently, no local council knew or could provide reasons as to why the trees had been tagged or who was responsible.

It has now come to light, thanks to the persistent work of Peter Munro, Secretary of Cooks River Valley Association.

According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald –

As many as 1000 trees along the Cooks River are being assessed for potential removal by energy companies, which operate an underground network of pipelines running beneath kilometres of parklands in south-western Sydney.  Hundreds of mature trees – including Moreton Bay figs, eucalypts, and casuarinas – which line kilometres of pipeline easement from Port Botany to Newington in Sydney’s inner west have been tagged by arborists to determine whether they pose a threat to the pipelines.”   See – http://bit.ly/2cYuBK2

The underground pipelines are operated by Viva Energy Australia & Sydney Metropolitan Pipeline.

“A spokesman for Energy Minister Anthony Roberts confirmed his department was aware of the tagging, and said: “The pipeline route [was] being assessed for any possible threats to the pipelines.  If any trees are identified as possibly requiring removal, the licensee will have to go through all normal approval processes.”

Around 2-years ago, I spoke informally with a manager of the gas company which was repairing pipes near the storm water drain beside Mackey Park.   I asked why trees were not allowed to be planted along the riverbank as had been told to me by Marrickville Council a few years back.  His response was to laugh & say that the pipes are buried so deep that they would be unaffected by the roots of any tree.

Therefore, I would question the need to remove any tree along the Cooks River by Viva Energy Australia & Sydney Metropolitan Pipeline.

The trees along the Cooks River are vital for the health of the river & the community.  There has been much research of late about trees & their positive impact on the mental, physical & spiritual health of human beings.  Trees are recognized as important assets & a public health issue.

The Cooks River & the riverbanks are classified as a ‘biodiversity corridor.’ They support a wide range of wildlife, which is growing due to the good work being done by local councils & Sydney Water to increase the biodiversity & restore the riverbanks.

There would need to be a very good reason why any tree would need to be removed from this location, let alone 1,000 trees.  The impact of removing hundreds of trees would be massive & not only destructive to the environment & the wildlife that rely on the trees, but also throwing away the time, hard work & ratepayers money that has gone into re-vegetating the riverbanks.

I believe the manager who told me that the trees were no threat to the the deeply buried pipelines.  So, I am not persuaded that anyone considering tree removal along the Cooks River has made their case.