Thanks to Adelaie Now and John Stokes
Unley Council considers legal action against Transport Department over tree damage during Goodwood Junction project
Councillors have voted to investigate how many other trees have been damaged as part of the project and will consider prosecuting the department for breaches of the Development Act.
The council has also voted to seek compensation from the department for any damage caused to roads, footpaths and signs.
Councillor Jennie Boisvert told a council meeting last month scores of heavy trucks moving earth and equipment might have damaged streets, such as Victoria and Leah streets and East Ave, forcing the council to resurface them earlier than planned.
The $110 million rail project to build an underpass for the Noarlunga line below the Belair and freight lines started last October and is due to finish by the end of this year.
Councillor Michael Saies, who pushed for the report on tree damage, said it was unacceptable for trees to be knocked down without authorisation.
He said residents had complained to him about the damage to trees.
“We need to make it clear to the community this sort of damaging activity is not to be tolerated,” Cr Saies told the council meeting.
“We should be sending a very, very strong message to the department and the State Government.”
Councillor Don Palmer said he had lost count of how many trees had been destroyed by accident as part of the project.
“We’ve had a devastation — a war in our area in the last nine months,” Cr Palmer said.
Councillor Mike Hudson suggested the council looked for another way to resolve the issue, rather than expensive legal action.
“Surely we could come to some friendly, cost effective solution,” Cr Hudson said.
A department spokeswoman said it had not received any correspondence from Unley Council about damage to trees, footpaths and roads.
“The department will respond directly to the council in relation to any correspondence received on these matters,” she said.
The department did not provide details of how many trees had been damaged or removed as part of the project.