02 January 2019

Tree canopy: can we change it?

Trees planted at Goodwood Junction.

I've received a few emails in recent days with comments about Unley's tree canopy. You may remember an earlier blog on this topic. First thing, the state government controls the legislation by which council must comply. This government has imposed legislation that now fails to protect almost all trees that are within 10 metres of a structure of value (with a few exceptions). A structure of value is usually interpreted as a house, not a fence or shed.
So if I buy a block of land that can be subdivided but has a tree or two where I might choose to build I have two choices: to work around the trees as they will add value to the new property or to apply to remove them as it would be too expensive to work around them. Alternatively, I submit plans where the trees are closer to the houses (within 10 metres) and then once the houses are built apply to remove them as they are then unprotected.
The recent spate of applications in Clarence Park (Clarence Park and Black Forest) are alarming but there will be little Council can do as they must  work within the legislation.
Residents can work with us to add more strength to the soon to be reviewed Tree Strategy which, hopefully, will also recommend legislative change. Council can take more educative approach when working with residents and developers and can also continue to find places where trees that have the potential to become significant can be planted. Council can also ensure that if trees are legally removed that the replacement trees are planted and maintained.

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