ACT News


First Northbourne tree removals costing $32,000

The cost of removing unsafe dying and diseased trees from Northbourne Avenue is more than $32,000, with wood to be reused in a Molonglo Valley environmental project.

Felling of 42 trees deemed unsafe by a 2014 expert audit began last week, after the trees were marked with information signs in March.

Among the total, six trees will be cut down from sections of the Northbourne Avenue median strip in both Lyneham and the city, while 31 will be cut down from Turner alone.

They include 41 Eucalyptus elata, or river peppermint trees, and one mature Eucalyptus mannifera, or brittle gum which will be removed from the road verge for safety reasons.

Transport and Municipal Services Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the cost of current removal was $32,400.

She said the tree removals were not linked to the government's planned city to Gungahlin tram line, which will see 444 trees cut down on Northbourne from later in the year.


They will be replaced with 671 new trees, expected to be grown at the Yarralumla Nursery.

On the Federal Highway, 211 trees will be removed and 157 new trees planted.

The existing Eucalyptus elata on Northbourne were planted between 1983 and 1986, and are the third generation of trees planted in the median strip.

The cost of removing the remaining trees for light rail will fall to the Canberra Metro consortium.

"This work will take place outside peak hours to limit the impact on traffic movement along Northbourne Avenue," Ms Fitzharris said.

"About 80 butt logs and all the woodchip will be delivered to the National Arboretum for use in the Molonglo Valley woodland restoration project from the trees removed along Northbourne Avenue."

The cost covers all labour and equipment, including trucks, wood chippers and chainsaws.

The contractors are also providing design and implementation of temporary traffic management procedures around the felling, stump and vegetation removal and restoration of the ground to good condition.

A 2014 assessment commissioned by the government found that of the trees in the light rail corridor, only 59 per cent were healthy but a similar 2010 study found some of the trees on Northbourne could remain in place for 20 years.

Last month the government announced $2 million in upgrades to footpaths and verges along Northbourne Avenue.

Territory and Municipal Services tree maintenance crews will also undertake pruning on some of the verge and median trees before the end of June, as part of efforts to improve amenity and structure of the remaining trees.

All the trees in Northbourne Avenue will continue to be monitored for defects and signs of decline and further works will be scheduled as required.

As part of the construction of light rail, about 40 trees will be removed from the site of the planned stabling depot at Mitchell.