ACT News


All hell breaks out in neighbourhood battle over trees

The fiery autumn colours of Manchurian pear and claret ash trees in Nicholls will match the mood of a neighbourhood split on whether to axe the trees or keep them.

Margaret Brewster, who moved to Temperley Street because of its green credentials, said "All hell" had broken out between those including herself facing west, who wanted the trees to stay, and those who had waged a long campaign to get rid of them.

In early March representatives of about 100 residents in Temperley Street's The Gardens, an award-winning residential development will vote on the future of about 18 street trees.

Residents arrived over four stages of building The Gardens more than a decade ago, forming a units plan comprising Grevillea, Tristania, Melaleuca and Sequoia.

Each group is represented on a joint consultative committee which will consider arborists reports which, in some cases, recommend keeping the trees, and in other instances removing them.

People on the committee have declined to comment.


Poor soil has sent roots to the surface searching for nutrients and lifting pavers and bitumen, while the formation of some branches has been inadequate.

"My current recommendation is to not remove these trees, as the damage to the pavers is minor and unlikely to cause any significant building damage," said one tree specialist.

"In my professional opinion, these trees are beautiful specimens and are a great asset to the complex."

But another tree consultant said: "... I feel that many need to be removed before they cause too many problems."

Joss Jones, who with wife Helen moved from a bigger home at Weetangera, said there was no logical reason for the trees to come down, especially after residents waited 13 years for them to attain their current scale.

"[The Gardens] attract people who are winding down, I wouldn't think there are many people younger than 50 in this joint," Mr Jones said.

"I couldn't believe I could live in a place like this, the peace and quiet, we get every type of bird you could name in this place flitting around, we even have the little brown finches back this year after the drought."

He said axing the trees was presented as a fait accompli, but the tree surgeons' reports suggested other options, such as thinning them out.

Laurie Dawes said a valuer had told him removing the trees, which provided shade and privacy, would cause home prices to slip.

"It has caused a bit of friction. When I drive into the place it looks fantastic."

Ms Brewster said she had lived in three Sydney addresses with units plans without a murmur of disagreement.

"Everything was sweetness and light," she said. "People get a lust for power in Canberra."


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