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All hell breaks out in neighbourhood battle over trees

Date

John Thistleton

Residents of The Gardens in Nicholls are at war over whether to remove Manchurian pear and claret ash trees, like the ones to the right of this photo.

Residents of The Gardens in Nicholls are at war over whether to remove Manchurian pear and claret ash trees, like the ones to the right of this photo. Photo: Melissa Adams

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.

Some residents at The Gardens in Nicholls want to remove Manchurian pear trees, like this one, while others want them kept.

Some residents at The Gardens in Nicholls want to remove Manchurian pear trees, like this one, while others want them kept. Photo: Melissa Adams

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."

16 comments

  • Would like to know who the "tree consultant" is that states "... I feel that many need to be removed before they cause too many problems." Sounds to me that they may be a tree lopper who is trying to drum up some work. A suitably qualified landscape architectural consultant or arborist would not use that type of lanquage in a report

    Commenter
    T
    Date and time
    January 16, 2013, 12:55PM
    • This is exactly why I would not live in a townhouse with the usual "little Hitlers" on the body corporate. There will be lots more stories like this coming along since the government has decided now everyone wants to live in little "apartments" stacked on top of each other.

      Commenter
      WotTha?????
      Date and time
      January 16, 2013, 1:22PM
      • How about removing half of them ?

        And how about not planting a monoculture of foreign trees ?

        "Manchurian Pears" come from a swamp where it is also -24 Celsius in winter. Neither of which applies to Canberra's climate.

        Commenter
        enno
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        January 16, 2013, 1:28PM
        • "People get a lust for power in Canberra." Your not wrong Ms Brewster.
          After 37 years of living in Canberra that is one of the many reasons that made me leave.

          Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/all-hell-breaks-out-in-neighbourhood-battle-over-trees-20130116-2csn5.html#ixzz2I6OFEFHl

          Commenter
          Angry of Devonport
          Date and time
          January 16, 2013, 1:36PM
          • What do you expect? Canberrans hate trees. Just look at the new suburbs and especially the new suburbs near Mt Stromlo.

            Commenter
            Sharron
            Location
            Canberra
            Date and time
            January 16, 2013, 2:01PM
            • What a stupid comment! What would make you say "Canberrans hate trees"? Mt Stromlo is not quite finished or had a chance to grow if you look really really closely

              Commenter
              WotTha?????
              Date and time
              January 16, 2013, 2:18PM
            • What are you talking about? Canberra has more parkland than London and I'm pretty sure there are a few trees in those parks. I think you'll find Canberra loves trees.

              Commenter
              rusta
              Location
              the berra
              Date and time
              January 16, 2013, 2:33PM
            • Open your eyes and have a look at the new suburbs in the north and at the Mt Stromlo suburbs.

              Maybe if you got off your computers you could go take a look. Go and look at the new homes, not one of them has a tree. It is dirt, dirt, dirt and more dirt.

              The local government years ago left the bush in place which was to make the capital a "bush capital". But Canberrans have allowed developers to rip the trees down and new home owners do not plant trees.

              And yes, I stand by what I say, Canberrans hate trees.

              Commenter
              Sharron
              Location
              Canberra
              Date and time
              January 16, 2013, 4:17PM
            • The usual negative Sharron, with never a positive or constructive comment to make about anything Canberran.

              The area around Mt Stromlo was completely burnt out in the 2003 bushfires and the new Molonglo suburbs are still under construction. Central Canberra was built on the largely treeless Limestone Plains. Over time, we have become a city of trees and we love them.

              Commenter
              Trish
              Location
              Chapman
              Date and time
              January 16, 2013, 4:26PM
            • Firstly I think your argument is thta developers hate trees, which is hardly new.

              Secondly, most of those areas were not 'bush'. At most they were artificial plantations. Most of Canberra, if left to nature, is grassland.

              Commenter
              qadf
              Date and time
              January 16, 2013, 5:31PM

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