Trees face chop
Monday, 28th May, 2018
By Michael Murphy
The city’s beleaguered Civic Centre is now being damaged by the trees in front of it, according to City Council staff.
Staff are asking councillors to give them the green light to destroy them and have put a recommendation to this Wednesday’s monthly meeting.
Work on the Civic Centre began in June 2016 and was expected to take a few months to complete.
The centre was kept partially open for some events during 2016 and 2017, but was shut shortly after it was officially opened at the Nationals Conference in May last year.
The revamp of the city’s premier entertainment venue was expected to inject millions of dollars into the city’s economy.
In its latest quarterly budget review, Council says it will lose about $200,000 in revenue because the doors remained shut.
Council staff have been working on a landscaping project around the centre to bring it up to scratch before it’s finally re-opened for the Civic Ball in August.
“The tree root systems are demonstrating damage to the Civic Centre exterior walls and building footings and this is only going to continue to get worse in years to come,” staff wrote in their report to councillors.
They say they could cut the trees’ roots but fear this would make them unstable.
“The advised option is to remove these trees as it will eliminate the risk of damage to underground cables, concrete pillars, irrigation mains and Telstra assets.”
Staff also say the trees add to their workload because of falling branches and cockatoos.
“As the trees age they become less stable and may present risks to the building and pedestrians,” they said.
“The cockatoos nesting in the trees also create hazards with falling branches and other related matters.”
One BDT reader pointed out a few weeks ago that the cockies were defecating on the seating below the trees, leaving nasty surprises for unsuspecting pedestrians looking for a sweet spot to sit.
Staff say proposed landscaping includes Kikuyu lawn through the front garden areas with “strappy leaf plants” in planter boxes near the main entrance.
It will cost ratepayers $10,000 to remove three trees.
Council has a “tree management policy” it endorsed in 2015. It covers all trees and shrubs growing on Council-controlled property.
Under the policy, Council decided to keep a “tree inventory” of all existing trees in its control, and identify “significant trees” to protect the city’s outstanding specimens and allow the community to appreciate their qualities.
The policy also permits council staff to remove trees that pose a risk to property or the public.