Trees ... we need them

Trees … we need them and so do the wildlife.

This is the second time in the last month that I have been impressed by the Inner West Council’s actions regarding our urban forest.  The first was meeting with power company Ausgrid where significant changes to pruning standards were agreed upon & Council elected to stop using the services of the tree pruning company.  See –

The second was this week when council put out a media release titled, ‘Inner west councils demand Cooks River trees be saved.’  Now we are talking!

The issue concerns hundreds of trees that have been tagged along Marrickville’s side of the Cooks River from Kendrick Park in Tempe all the way to Strathfield Golf Course. Peter Munro, Secretary of Cooks River Valley Association, was the first to take action approaching the local councils to find out why the trees had been tagged.  Unfortunately, the councils knew of this or who had done the tagging.

Viva Energy Australia & Sydney Metropolitan Pipeline own the underground pipelines.  Viva Energy confirmed an arborist had been hired after a safety audit of the easement raised concerns “about trees growing close to the two pipelines”.

The Inner West Council’s media release said that council is working with other stakeholders to save up to 800 trees that have been tagged for possible removal by energy companies.”

Council wrote to the NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Lands and Water, & also to the Managing Director & CEO of Caltex.

Council also met with Caltex representatives earlier this week “to reinforce Council’s strong objection to the trees removal.”

Council felt that their concerns were heard.

“We are insisting that they consult with all affected councils and we are calling for all necessary assessments to be undertaken that measure the actual impacts the trees are having on the pipelines – not just assumptions made on tree and soil types.

We are also saying that this process must abide by all environmental laws such as the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Council has invested so much time and money to rehabilitate and improve this Cooks River corridor, any tree removal should be the absolute last option available to us.”

I thank the Inner West Council for taking action on this serious issue & for clearly setting out responsibilities & criteria for any tree removal.  I believe that it was poor form for the Viva Energy not to inform the relevant councils of their plan to tag trees & their reason for doing so.  Neither the local councils nor the community should have been left in the dark about what is threatening the trees along the river.  This is our urban forest & we should be informed of any risk to it.

I also believe the manager of a gas company who told me a couple of years ago that the pipes are buried so deep that they would be unaffected by the roots of any tree.  There are all sorts of modern techniques to lay or replace underground pipes without causing damage or necessitating tree removal.  See –

The Poplars in Mackey Park have also been tagged.

The Poplars in Mackey Park have also been tagged.