Risk averse Council condemns Stanmore’s biggest eucalypt to the chainsaw

One of Stanmore’s largest Eucalypt trees on Cambridge Street will be removed by Marrickville Council on Monday 18 January in a move The Greens have labelled as taking the practice of risk aversion too far.

This magnificent tree will be chopped down by Marrickville Council on Monday 18 Janurary 2010

The Lemon Scented Gum (Corymbia) citriodora opposite Stanmore Public School is in fine health and provides shade and contributes to the busy pedestrian street.  However, newly arrived residents have lodged a claim with council that the tree is responsible for cracking to their hundred year old terrace.

“This is an example of our litigious society and the practice of risk aversion being taken too far at the expense of the community and environment,” said Greens Councillor Max Phillips.

“Most older houses in the Inner West suffer some cracking, mostly due to the clay soils expanding and contracting,

“Such magnificent trees should only be removed if they are dangerously diseased or there is conclusive proof they are doing damage.  To remove such a tree on speculation and fear of litigation is a mistake and represents risk aversion being taken too far and against the public interest.

“The insurers and lawyers are making the decisions and it is unfortunate that the Labor and Independent Councillors refused to intervene in the public interest and save the tree.

“The Greens moved a motion in December to conduct more investigations into whether the tree was actually causing or would continue to cause damage to the house and look at alternatives to removal.  This motion was narrowly defeated 6 votes to 5.

Several community members, including a local residents who has lived in the street for decades spoke against the killing of the tree at the Council meeting.

“Marrickville Council has a cultural problem when it comes to trees.  Council sees them as liabilities rather than assets and remove them at the slightest indication.

“Many of the Labor and Independent Councillors think protecting trees is a joke and not something Council should waste time on.

Independent Councillor Dimitrios Thanos recently emailed Councillors and staff saying: “I’ll grab my chainsaw and meet the staff down there on the appointed day :)”

“Their attitude is from the 1950s and it is time these councillors understood what benefits trees bring to the local community and environment.”

The Greens and the community have had to conduct several campaigns to save various trees in the local government area, including two huge figs at Mackay Park and a large fig on Margaret Street, Dulwich Hill.

Contact: Max Phillips 0419 444 916

3 comments

  • This is so sad.Similar issues in Newcastle; Michael Osborne of the Greens has been so helpful.Do these home owners know their property value will go down and their heating and cooling costs go up?And the tree is stunning.What a loss. More at http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com

  • I feel extremely sad that this magnificent tree will be chopped down. It should have been protected by a Significant Tree Register, however, as you know, Marrickville Council doesn’t have one. Many Councils in Sydney do & actively protect their public trees. Friends who live in Leichhardt Council were genuinely shocked when I told them of this tree. They said in their LGA the proof would have to be extreme to have permission to have a tree like this one chopped down. To me this shows a difference in culture between the two LGAs.

    By my calculations this tree with a girth of 2.5 metres sequesters 388.2 kgs CO2 per year. It is an extremely valuable asset to the community, especially in these days of global warming. Not only is it an incredibly beautiful tree, it also provides food & shelter to wildlife. Cambridge Street is regarded as one of the better streets of Stanmore because of its tall trees & in my opinion, this tree is by far the best in the street.

    I highly doubt the tree’s removal will do much to stop movement of the foundations of the house because of the protracted drought & the presence clay soils. Foundation movement is something we all suffer in the Inner West.

    I am disappointed in Councillor Thanos’ comment as this shows he lacks appreciation for trees & is unaware how important they are to a vast number of his constituents.
    Jacqueline Yetzotis
    Saving Our Trees

  • Pingback: Stanmore’s largest gum tree turned into woodchip « Marrickville & Petersham-Newtown Greens

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