Community association calls for tree plan submissions

The Wagstaffe-Killcare Community Association is urging local residents to make a submission to protect the area’s trees and green spaces.
“We believe most residents settled across the Peninsula in part because of the special ambience provided by the trees around us,” said association president Ms Peta Colebatch.
Ms Colebatch said the association was adding its voice to that of the Community Environment Network in calling for residents to make a submission to Central Coast Council about the Council’s draft Tree and Vegetation Management Plan.
According to Network president Mr John Asquith, the proposed chapter makes it easier for unscrupulous land owners and arborists to remove trees and vegetation without needing a permit.
“The draft chapter generally requires landowners to obtain a permit from Council to remove or prune a tree, but the draft also describes exemptions to avoid having to obtain a permit,” Mr Asquith said.
“Under the proposed chapter, trees may be removed without a permit if evidence is provided by an arborist with trade AQF3 qualifications that they are dead or pose a risk to persons or property and are not required as habitat for native fauna.
“Evidence of these assessments is required to be kept by the landowner for six months after the removal, but AQF3 training does not cover tree species, diseases, assessment or reporting.
“This is covered in AQF5 training.
“Therefore tradesmen with AQF3 qualifications do not have the knowledge to assess if vegetation is dying or dead and is not required as the habitat of native animals,” Mr Asquith said.
“As most tree-removers hold AQF3 qualifications, there is a risk of unreliable evidence from sources with only this qualification.
“Since tree-removers are paid to remove trees, they have a clear conflict of interest if they are authorised to condemn trees,” he said.
“In addition: Council should recognise the value of non-native trees.
“In some areas maples, jacarandas and other large exotics provide the only canopy.
“These trees should be retained while more natives are introduced.
“Council should require the planting of replacement trees as part of any permit to remove.
“Council should list reasons for removal that would be considered inadequate,” Mr Asquith said.
“Please make a submission and help to prevent erosion of the protections Gosford Council already had in place,” Ms Colebatch said.

Media release, 3 Dec 2018
Peta Colebatch, WTKCA

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