A Forster resident has won the right to have an Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) removed from a Breese Parade property, despite an initial recommendation by Mid Coast Council tree management officers to retain the tree.
However, the resident will have to pay for its removal and replace it with two appropriate indigenous tree species.
The tree, which is located at the rear of a property formerly owned by MidCoast Council, abuts a residential property in Hind Avenue.
According to MidCoast Council acting recreation co-ordinator, Josh Duncombe in a report to councillors meeting at the March monthly ordinary meeting, the resident raised concerns of leaf litter in the backyard and and shade cast on solar panels.
The resident had been approach council asking for the tree's removal more than 12 months ago.
The tree is protected by an existing tree preservation order, which applies to both public and privately owned land within the Great Lakes region of MidCoast Council as identified in its development control plan, and cannot be removed, Mr Duncombe wrote.
The tree preservation rules apply to trees that meet any of the following conditions:
- Is five metres or higher;
- Has an over-bark girth of more than 600mm at one metre above the ground;
- Is a cabbage tree palm (Livistona Australis) that is 0.5m high or taller;
- Is any species of mangrove;
- Is registered as a significant tree (on the basis of environmental, social, cultural, ecological or habitat reasons or on the trees age, size or prominence), and
- Is part of a heritage item or a heritage conservation area.
According to Mr Duncombe, the tree met the first two conditions.
"The tree has been inspected by several qualified staff members.
"All have formed the same view that the tree is in very good health with no obvious structural feature of note or decay.
"There is no obvious root encroachment or property damage."
The report said: "The removal of the tree without meeting the necessary tree preservation conditions will set an undesired precedent."
Councillors Fowler, Roberts, Hutchinson, West and Bell voted in favour of removing the tree.
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