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"It is time to move on": Council says tree will stay after rejecting arborist's grim report

August 2, 2022


The tree in question. Google Street View.

By Peter Holmes


As rejection letters go, this one is quite firm.


Orange City Council has dismissed an application for the removal of a large pin oak tree next to Orange Men’s Shed on the Mitchell Highway at Lucknow, despite an arborist saying it should go.


The arborist’s report, done for the owners of the property, is shown in council papers. It stated that the root system of the tree was “buckling the foundations” of both the house on the land where the tree stands, and the Orange Men’s Shed next door.




“The root system is lifting the footpath up in various places,” the report stated.

The tree was estimated to be 12 to 15 metres tall, and approximately 30-40 years old.


A photo from council papers. Supplied.

“The root system has spread out towards the nearby Orange Men’s Shed next door and your own front patio house foundations, this is buckling the foundations of both buildings, it also has the potential to damage it even more if left to grow to a more substantial size.”



The report warned that “if the tree happens to fail and falls, splits, or loses any branches, it has the potential to cause excessive damage to … nearby power lines or service wires, pedestrians or vehicles passing by, nearby fences and highway retaining wall”.


samfarraway.com.au


A determination by Orange City Council staff dated August 2, 2022 - a year to the day after the application was lodged - stated “APPLICATION REFUSED”.

“Council staff consider the information inadequate and not supported by appropriate evidence,” stated council papers.


A photo from council papers. Supplied.

“Council’s Manager City Presentation (Qualified Horticulturist, Arborist and Environmental Scientist) has assessed the proposal and does not support removal of the subject tree.



“The tree is considered to be a structurally sound specimen and in good health … No Arboricultural evidence has been submitted to substantiate that the tree has a structural weakness or that a failure may occur.”




They also said that damage to the concrete footpath from the front property boundary to the front patio was “negligible”, and that “there is no evidence to show that tree roots have egressed beneath the patio or house foundations”.

“Tree removal will have an undesirable impact on the heritage significance of this neighbourhood in the Lucknow Heritage Conservation Area,” council staff stated. “Tree removal will have adverse visual impacts on the streetscape [and] will have adverse impacts on the landscape setting in the locality.”


A photo from council papers. Supplied.

The application was first considered at Orange City Council’s Extraordinary meeting on Friday, March 25, 2022.



"Following deliberations on the matter, Council resolved to provide the proponent additional time to address the matters raised by Council staff outlined in the report," council papers stated.

"Council staff wrote to the applicant on Wednesday, 30 March 2022 to that effect. The information requested by Council staff has not been forthcoming since."


A photo from council papers. Supplied.

Council stated that "the applicant was also given an option of withdrawal of the application, for resubmission should they later obtain further supporting information. The position of staff remains the same that the tree is important, does not represent a safety issue and is not causing significant damage to any buildings that would warrant its removal.


"It is considered that the applicant has been given enough time to respond to Council’s requests and it is time to move on. It is recommended that the application is refused."

The owners are able to appeal the decision.



The Orange News Examiner has sought comment from the arborist who supplied the report to the owners.


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