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Grants to maintain significant trees are now a possibilty

posted 20 Apr 2017, 16:58 by Christel Mex
At the Special Meeting of Council on 18 April, I successfully moved a motion to include a trial of Significant Tree Grants in the proposed operating budget for 2017-18. Here's a bit of what I said:

The purpose of this program is to trial and evaluate a grant program that supports the maintenance of significant trees located on private land. Large trees across our City are under threat due to the ongoing pressures of urban in-fill development, and the increasing costs of maintaining them. 

Recent planning changes have further threatened tree sustainability in urban areas, where now most species within 10 metres of a dwelling or swimming pool can be removed without planning consent despite their size and importance. Often the cost of maintaining these trees is out of the reach of local land owners due to the size of the trees and the need to employ professionals with the required equipment and skills to complete the work.  As such, many of these trees are not maintained and risk dying. 

Importantly, staff informed me that we are not utilising the Urban Tree Fund which currently has an un-allocated balance of $9,000 – and that this trial grant program would be a perfect fit for use of these funds, meaning that the total cost of the trial would only be a net $1,000.
In addition, there has been no audit of significant trees in our city.  This trial program will give us some indication of where these trees are, and landholder interest in their maintenance. 

I believe a program like this is urgent and important, so that we can preserve as many significant trees as possible in this climate of 'development at all costs'. These trees are too important to our community to lose, and the longer we sit on our hands, the greater the risk of losing them.