Council staff at odds over street tree planting

Cr Richard Mehrtens has asked Central Coast Council staff to explain how one department has knocked back a request to plant trees to a community group that received a council grant to plant them.
Cr Mehrtens told Peninsula News his question came from his increasing frustration at council officers blaming underground infrastructure or protecting road surfaces and footpaths for not allowing street trees to be planted.”
He said this had come to a head because staff had recently knocked back requests from a Peninsula community tree group which had secured a council grant to plant street trees.
“Another directorate of council is now standing in the way saying they can’t do it,’’ Cr Mehrtens said.
“Dozens of other councils seem able to manage this problem, yet we fall back on these old and tired excuses.
“I want to know why council staff seem to think we are so unique and different that we can’t do these things that so many others are jumping at the opportunity to do.”
Cr Mehrten’s question has yet to be answered
Grown Urban Shade Trees is the community group referred to by Cr Mehrtens.
Group member Ms Melissa Chandler said infrastructure barriers for street trees did exist but they were not impossible to overcome and should not create such significant issues to make street planting impossible.
“We are seeing trees being planted in urban settings throughout greater Sydney, including in areas with a much better existing tree cover,” she said.
“That’s because most councils are now considering the risks to infrastructure in the context of wider health and social risks associated with lack of shade.
“We also have improved technical details for species selection and planting methods.
“It is not a case anymore of to plant or not to plant.
“It’s a case of which tree, where and how to plant.”
Ms Chandler said the grant to the group for its Showcase Streets project was behind schedule but things had recently progressed.
A new street with less infrastructure had been chosen and doorknocking in that street would begin soon to enlist the support of residents

SOURCE
Central Coast Council agenda Q81/19, 29 April 2019
Media Statement, 8 May 2019
Richard Mehrtens, Central Coast Council
Media Statement, 22 May 2019
Melissa Chandler, GUST

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