Council will look at tree register and by-law

By KIERAN FINNANE

 

The Town Council has supported Alderman Jane Clark in her request for a report from officers on establishing a tree register, with pruning or removal of significant trees being subject to council approval. Ald Clark put her motion to council after contact from constituents expressing their concern over the destruction of mature trees in the ANZ carpark last weekend.

 

Steve Thorne, Chair of Northern Territory Urban Design Advisory Council, who headed up the consultant team on the revitalisation of the Alice Springs CBD, has also suggested the establishment of a tree register, as part of an effort to halt the “death by a thousand cuts” that is occurring in our town centre.

 

Mr Thorne has followed the ANZ tree saga on the Alice Springs News website and wrote: “While I can’t comment on the specifics of the trees on that site, other than that they were specifically identified as being important to the creation of a new streetscape in Parsons Street, their removal raises important issues for Alice Springs.

 

“I should say that I am deeply saddened by their removal. In an arid climate where trees take such a long time to grow, the removal of mature trees is a matter which requires careful consideration.

 

“The shade and beauty provided by all trees in Alice, be they exotic or native, has great value, not only physical and cultural, but economic.  The cooling effect they have on the ground has been experienced by all who live in Alice, and cannot be dismissed as a trivial issue.

 

“The slow removal of quality buildings and trees in the public realm in Alice Springs has previously been described as ‘death by a thousand cuts’. This refers not only to the removal of good things to look at and experience, but to the economic consequences as Alice becomes less attractive in the broadest sense.

 

“For these reasons alone it may be time for the community to record those places and objects which give Alice Springs its character.  I feel that a survey should be undertaken and the significant trees in Alice should be mapped, photographed and registered.

 

“Just as people have endured the harsh climate in Alice, so those trees which have survived for so long demand the same level of respect.  It is part of the compelling story of Alice Springs.

 

“I just hope that if a building is built on the ANZ car park, that it is carefully considered, not only for its functionality but that it is at least as attractive as the trees which stood there until last week.”

 

At the council meeting, Mayor Damien Ryan suggested that the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) be consulted about the tree register, lest the council be “reinventing the rules”.

 

Ald Clark was quite clear that AAPA’s responsibilities are with regard to trees that are sacred or significant in the Arrernte tradition. Council has a responsibility to look after other trees “for the long-term benefit of the community”. The focus should be initially on the CBD, she said, and the register needs to be backed up by a by-law, protecting trees of a specific age and type.

 

Ald Eli Melky expressed his concern about the “total disregard” of the revitalisation plans demonstrated by the carpark owners (Yeperenye Pty Ltd): “I was particularly concerned it could happen under our nose,” he said, urging council to pursue this “serious issue”, with stricter controls, and possibly a by-law.

 

Only Ald Murray Stewart dissented, worried about council “getting into people’s backyards”, and adding to the “vexed issue around trees” (clearly a reference to various controversies over sacred trees). He asked council “not to go too far” in making things “even more difficult” for the “future development of the town”.

 

In the same meeting Ald Stewart proposed the formation of a taskforce, comprised of a representative each from the council, the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Central Australia, as well as a number of business representatives, to boost business confidence. Business needs “a shot in the arm” and it needs to happen as soon as possible, urged Ald Stewart.

 

Nobody mentioned the $5m ‘shot in the arm’ that council is sitting on until the middle of next year – the revitalisation projects. If work had started on these as soon as council had made its decision about which projects to prioritise, perhaps the owners of the ANZ carpark would have been brought on board and we would not have lost those mature trees. And perhaps the CBD would be abuzz with the prospect of new ways of doing business and enjoying the areas around the northern end of the mall.

 

Posted Monday, October 31:

 

Felling of trees: disappointing and sad, says Mayor

 

Mayor Damien Ryan has expressed his “disappointment” over the felling of mature red gums at the ANZ carpark, especially given the CBD revitalisation plans for connecting the river to the town in which the trees were to play their part.

 

“They are the landlord, it’s their prerogative,” he said, referring to Yeperenye Pty Ltd who own the carpark and adjacent real estate, “but it is sad that a different solution could not have been found.”

 

Alice Springs News Online had asked the mayor and all aldermen whether there should be a by-law to protect mature trees in the municipality, including those on private property. Mayor Ryan said he would need more information about whether a by-law should be created. Alderman Eli Melky expressed his in principle support for a by-law, with obvious provision for the removal of trees that present a danger to the public.

 

Ald Jane Clark, responding from Thailand where she is studying, said the town needs a tree register in association with a permit system, “stating that permission must be sought from Council before pruning or removing certain types of trees”.

 

“This would enable Council to consider circumstances and also to save trees we may not yet have added to the register.  Creating a register would be expensive and time consuming but certainly worthwhile.  I worry for the trees on the Melanka site as well – they need care and protection.”

 

Ald Sandy Taylor said her “personal opinion is that mature trees should never be chopped down because of the harsh climate we endure here in Alice Springs and the length of time it has taken to grow the trees, many of them much older than myself”. She likened the sudden removal of the trees as similar to the damage done to the tail of the caterpillar site on Barrett Drive (destroyed by a government contractor in December 1982 when the road was being built) and to “the night raiders who demolished Turner House” (a restaurant in Hartley Street controversially bull-dozed in the 1980s).

 

Both Mayor Ryan and Ald Taylor raised the question of whether the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority has been consulted about the removal of the trees. Research Director at the authority, Dr Amanda Markham, said the landowners sought an Authority Certificate to undertake the tree removal work, and that a certificate was issued following consultations with senior custodians.

 

Custodians had said there were no sites identified on the lot:  “The trees were noted as either exotics or as being planted. However, I can confirm that the large river red gums in the YHA [opposite] and those along the river are sacred sites.”

 

Of course, an Authority Certificate should not be the last word on the protection of trees. There are many ways that trees, including those recently planted and even exotic trees, contribute to our environment – providing shade and beauty for a start. Sacred trees have a special status and are protected by law. The question now is, whether other mature trees also should be afforded some formal protection.

 

Photo: Google Earth shot from space shows the trees providing shade in the ANZ carpark.

 

Earlier stories: Chainsaw rules and Felled trees: Q & A.

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21 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Posted February 1, 2013 at 10:15 pm

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  2. DN
    Posted November 10, 2011 at 3:26 am

    The commentary on this page so clearly shows the divide that is Alice Springs. On the one hand you have the developer who can see the endless possibilities for this town – a long term resident, one who has invested here because he can’t imagine living anywhere else, no matter how much he enjoys water views.
    On the other hand you have people in love with an image of Alice which is also understandable – up to a point.
    I’m writing as another long term resident, who can’t imagine living anywhere else, and doesn’t want to rely on the favour of government as to whether the town survives or not.
    There is that other group of people rely on that government to help them buy that horrible shack over at Eastside that – everyone knows – is worth bugger all.
    If the town stagnates, us longer term residents will hang on and hang on – but our kids won’t be able to afford a house here, so they’ll move away.
    The ever increasing numbers of public servants with government subsidized housing and inflated wages can afford to buy these shacks and then on-sell them at ridiculously inflated prices and retire down the coast.
    When will people finally see that it is the public servants who kill small towns all over Australia, and Alice is just the next cab off the rank to go the way of other iconic towns across Australia.

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  3. Mike Gillam
    Posted November 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks for that Chippy, it must be my suspicious mind honed by too many years of observing developers.

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  4. Chippy Miller
    Posted November 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Mike, I will tell you, and all the readers online here, that I don’t know anything of what the owners of this block, or any other block in town, plan to do with their piece of land.
    Through this story, and the online discussions, I now know who the owners are.
    All I am trying to say is that if it were my property and it was costing me money on repairs / maintenance, I would do something to rectify this.
    I would not be expecting someone to tell me what I will and will not do. It is their block, let them work it.
    This has gone has gone far enough. Over and Out from me on this matter.

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  5. Posted November 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Interesting and robust discussion. I like Alderman Jane Clark’s proposal for a register to be established … and consulted should removal/pruning of trees become necessary. Pip McManus also has a conciliatory approach with community consultation that I would support.
    So … who “owns” the shade the trees provide?
    Great(orex) story, Kieran … generated some good debate! Part of why I love this town.

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  6. Mike Gillam
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Chippy appears to know more about the ANZ carpark than he is letting on. His patronizing blah blah blah and reference to little Town Like Alice are unlikely to gag this debate. Most people would understand that this issue concerns the future of tree protection generally and is not about bringing back those trees already removed.
    Chippy uses the phrase “within reason” without explaining how this is possible with developers doing their own assessments. I sincerely hope he is right and we are all “pleasantly surprised” by the new landscaping / development.

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  7. Chippy Miller
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:38 am

    C’mon people, move on, you all go on about “when I first came here … blah blah blah blah.”
    For goodness sake, enough is enough. The bloody trees are gone.
    The continuous whining will never make them re-appear. All you can do now is to wait and see what the property owners come up with as a replacement.
    Never know, we may all be pleasantly surprised! Lets put it this way: If you had a tree in your yard that was causing damage to your house and costing you money in repairs, what would you do? Leave the tree and continue to pay out more money for repairs?
    After all, it is private property. So within reason, the owners should have the right to make what changes and improvements they wish. That is the bottom line. We will never be that little “Town like Alice” again.

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  8. Hal Duell
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Has anyone seen the building plans that would tell us what Yeperenye has in mind for what is now a cleared site?
    Will the ANZ Bank building be going as well?
    A bit of timely disclosure here might do wonders for sorting the pros and cons of this particular tree removal debate.

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  9. Domenico Pecorari
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I’d love have been able to respond to “Stumped”, but I don’t believe that someone who won’t even put their name to their forthrightly-stated views warrants an answer. Where’s the courage of your conviction?
    As for Steve Brown’s simplistic reasoning and blaming the “lefties” for all the town’s woes: you could do with a history lesson or two, mate, despite having been here all your life.
    In all the twenty-seven years I’ve been here, I’ve rarely seen developers hindered in their desire to extract the maximum out of the town and, in the process, destroying the character that was loved by both the citizens and visitors to the place. Not by the former CLP government. Nor from the current Labor party, whose ministers have bent ever further backwards to give their nod to developments, such as Melanka, despite overwhelming opposition from a concerned public.
    No, Steve. If you really want to know why the town’s businesses are suffering, just chat with a few of the ever-dwindling number of visitors and ask for their impressions of our town. You may learn that there are only so many times you can sh*t in your own nest, before it starts to smell.

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  10. Mike Gillam
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I’d like to add a comment to my previous: The two (not one old diseased etc) mature red gums that I refer to were, by conservative estimate, 30 years old as evidenced by counting the growth rings on the remaining stumps. This represents a significant investment that is now lost to the street. I’m happy to be challenged on the age of these trees and maybe the pro-chopper brigade can search the photographic archives and present their findings.
    Most mature red gums could be described as ‘diseased’ and various ailments or ‘diseases’ may be carried periodically or permanently throughout their long lives of up to 400 years. I should also mention the twin trunks (perhaps 2 trees planted close together) of a younger red gum also situated on the edge of the Parsons Street boundary but closer to the river. This tree/s was probably between five and 10 years old when it was cut down – what a waste. You don’t have to be an arborist to know that these removals could have been staged to allow for improved landscaping if there had been genuine and compelling reasons to remove any or all of the red gums. And I can’t believe I am writing about another frying pan car-park in a treeless street at the start of a long hot summer. Talk about timing and anti-social behaviour, for that matter.

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  11. Mike Gillam
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    The anonymous “Stumped” belittles the removal of the only trees in the 150 metre pedestrian zone extending from the west side of the mall all the way to the river in the east and misrepresents these trees in his description. He is quite right however to highlight the appalling management of red gums in the Todd River. As registered sacred sites these trees are protected by law but unfortunately that status does not magically prevent their destruction through neglect or malice. It’s not logical however to argue that land management failures in the Todd somehow prevents the Town Council from acting on behalf of the community to improve the protection of trees wherever they occur in the town area.
    This should not be a competition between Government and private enterprise to see who can do the worst job of tree protection although the appearance of the town’s CBD does make me wonder on that score …
    It’s hard to fathom how the removal of mature trees, arguably making the place even hotter and uglier, will help the cause of businesses that are already failing in the centre of town. Why perpetuate this stupidity any longer if we truly want to make Alice Springs a more comfortable and inspiring place to live or visit? Surely honourable developers have nothing to fear from improved assessment if they are acting to remove trees because they are “diseased” or “unsafe” or a threat to plumbing!?
    In Parsons Street and the Mall, none of the privately owned land could be described as an island. Each block is connected to public services, roads, water and electricity to name a few. In a civil society developers should have reciprocal responsibilities. Each landowner shares the street with neighbours and relies on the wider community for support and patronage. Few developers can guarantee that the consequences of their actions are fully contained within their boundaries and will not impact adversely upon others.
    For this reason governments at all levels should have over-arching responsibility to consider the broader implications to society – planning schemes and heritage legislation are examples of this. For argument’s sake let’s refer to this basic ideal as good governance and vision – and yes, I know these principles appear to lie conspicuously dormant much of the time.
    In many jurisdictions good governance extends to tree protection by-laws and the employment of an arborist/s. In Alice Springs we have neither despite the great significance of trees and tree communities in the townscape. We hide behind sacred sites legislation that provides limited protection to many important trees in the town area but does not extend to all significant trees, notably those that have been planted. This means that most trees within the Alice Springs CBD are not actually protected by law and they can be removed with little or no justification at the urging of a council worker, a plumber or an accountant.
    Take a good look around. There is little sense of design in the placement and selection of street trees throughout the town centre and some locations are devoid of trees. The eastern end of Parsons Street now shares this dubious honour with that stretch of Gregory Tce between Todd and Hartley. Walking through the mall it’s a challenge to find continuous shade and garden beds scream of neglect.
    The point of this debate was two red gums in the ANZ carpark located approximately 8 metres from the nearest building and within 2 metres of the actual footpath. The placement of these trees on the edge of private land meant they also served as de facto ‘street trees’ and contributed to the amenity of an otherwise barren street. A Town Council arborist could have provided advice on root barriers or the pruning of hazardous limbs if the concerns of the owners were genuine and they were more interested in finding solutions than removing trees.
    If it’s absolutely necessary to remove trees, at least the public will know a balanced decision has been made. In that event trees might be removed in stages to allow some strategic re-planting as suggested by Brendan Meney. I can only hope the days of the selfish developer supported by lazy and obsequious governments are numbered. Unfortunately any shift towards greater corporate responsibility, real leadership and a change of heart in the CBD will come too late to save further small businesses from ruin.

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  12. Steve Brown
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    @2 So a few years ago when you popped your head over the horizon and saw a lovely town in which you chose to reside who do you think was responsible for creating that town? A bunch of Loopy Left Greenies or some hard working Pioneering Developers, people with vision, guts and determination, people who saw the possibilities and made the most of them? Yep, actually made things happen! As a third generation Alicespringsian I grew up with great expectations of where this town was going, and we were going places. We weren’t and didn’t consider ourselves an Old Historical Town like you see along the coast, we are and were a raw pioneering town. A frontier town, our story hardly begun.
    Alice at that time had several dairies, poultry farms, horticulture on a scale that not only catered for our own needs but for a big part of the Territory. We had a pastoral industry many times the size it is now and we had created from scratch the Territory’s largest and most vibrant tourist industry. Our airport was many times as busy and the tourism numbers vastly greater than our capital. That’s what our development driven goals brought us, success.
    Unfortunately our success also brought us many Loopy Lefties with their own wacky agendas, people who didn’t know anything at all about our town, its goals, its history or its economics, but they liked what they saw, settled here bringing with them small minded, chip on the shoulder politics from the coast, contributing or risking nothing of their own. They none the less demanded their views be heard on everything. They thought we needed saving and went steadily about that, the result over the last thirty or so years, more and more restrictions, more and more bureaucracy.
    Their great endeavours to stop further development caught the ear of a Government ever ready to restrict its spending in the South and very soon we saw a complete clamp on growth, almost no land release, despite our town having more available land than anywhere on earth. The result? Artificially high property prices resulting in artificially high rents. The results, people struggling to make ends meet, extra pressure on welfare housing and already transient population becoming even more so as people left unable to make ends meet. The result, less customers in shops, much harder to get staff for shops, lower quality of staff in shops, the result very difficult to run a business.
    Put that together with burgeoning crime rates and you have a town in decline, a town to which many are no longer willing to commit. Business becomes too hard, either downsizing or closing their doors. Between crime and lessening facilities tourism has also declined, so now there are no dairy farms, no poultry farms, much reduced horticulture, much reduced pastoral industry and tourism a small fraction of what it was. We’ve lost our extra airlines and our airport is no longer amongst the nation’s busiest. Yeh, that’s some achievement for the Anti-development Lobby, alright! When you’ve finished implementing your agenda, can you put the lights out? Thanks mate.

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  13. Stumped
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    The recent decision of Yeperenye to remove an old diseased, unsafe gum tree, an exotic pepper tree and some smaller gum trees, has attracted more air time than Michael Jordan!
    For Alderman Taylor to suggest that the removal of these trees was similar to the damage done to the caterpillar site on Barrett Drive and the “night raiders who demolished Turner House” should automatically qualify her for enrolment in a dramatic arts course. There is no comparison whatsoever.
    Surely the Alice Springs Town Council and its aldermen have more important things to do, such as properly managing trees on their own property, many of which are dangerous to passing pedestrians, without telling private land owners which trees to knock down, or not knock down?
    Didn’t the Mayor and Lhere Artepe CEO pledge in 2008 to stop the burning of registered sacred trees in the Todd River, which continues uncurtailed?
    Also, why were the coolabah trees in Traegar Park Oval, which were registered with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) as sacred, on Council owned property and under their protection, poisoned and subsequently died?
    I note that there was no public outcry from the Mayor and Council aldermen at that time.
    The council should also formulate and then comply with a risk management strategy, by ensuring that all their footpaths are maintained to a safe standard and not remain the “ankle breakers” they are, in many parts of the CBD, and to “make safe” all trees on their properties.
    The Todd Mall has deteriorated over the past 10 to 15 years while successive town councils and the NTG have twiddled their thumbs and simply paid more consultants to draw up a series of CBD Revitalisation Plans, none of which have been actioned or have made the slightest difference.
    Meanwhile mall retailers have suffered decline, and a valued tourist and retail precinct has deteriorated to the point of insignificance! Talk about Nero fiddling while Rome burnt!
    The Council could also try providing better and more cost effective municipal services. It’s disgusting that rate payers now have to pay up to $50 for a small trailer full of rubbish/rubble to the dump when our council rates are so high.
    I call upon the town council to properly deliver on their own services, primary functions and responsibilities instead of on more bluster and grandstanding on peripheral matters, such as trying to dictate which trees on privately owned land should or should not be felled!
    The owners of the Parsons St block have stated that they intend to replace the trees with something more attractive and will provide shade.
    So let’s all build that bridge, and get over it!

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  14. Domenico Pecorari
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 10:16 am

    @1 Steve, you seem to be forever putting the cart before the horse in your endless pro-development arguments.
    Have you not noticed the high level of vacant commercial premises or the number of long-time vacant lots in our CBD?
    Have you not considered that maybe our town’s woes stem, in part, from losing its edge as an attraction destination through the very unbridled developments you promote?
    No, Steve. More-of-the-same will not do any more for The Alice. If this town is to regain hope for a brighter future, it needs to develop and adopt a Town Plan that reflects the vision of its citizens.
    It has been the unrestrained “ad-hoc” approach to development that has got our town into this mess and it is time this was reversed.
    Far from turning developers away, I believe it will attract the very type of developers we need: community-minded investors who are reassured, not repelled, by a town that has taken charge of its future.

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  15. Steve Brown
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    @Trevor, Alice needs profits, Mate! Without them there will be no wonderful investments on the East Side! Alice Springs is a service town in one of the world’s most exotic locations, set amongst Australia’s most spectacular scenery. We don’t have to dummy down our town and turn it into some-kind of corny theme park to attract tourists.
    What we do have to produce is a vibrant healthy law abiding town that can cater for all their, as well as our own needs. In any progressive town there is always a bit of too and froing between the old and the new. The last thing we need is more restrictions our town is already chocking on them.
    It’s coming to point where investing here is no longer going to be a viable proposition. It’s already extremely difficult to get a project off the ground and with other places offering much more for less it’s only those with great attachment and love for the place that keep on trying.
    The facts are we need our hotels and motels, we need our shops and shopping centers, we need our homes and our streets, without them we are nothing!
    Towns are for people, buildings, roads and houses. Why do they tend to look the same? Because they’re all towns!!

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  16. Trevor Shiell
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Mr Brown obviously has profit as his motivation as a developer. He may be aware of a recent report in Alan Kohler’s investment letter that two Alice Springs suburbs are amongst the 50 highest yielding investments in the country. One of these is Eastside. People want to live here because of the historical character of the place and the trees. Perhaps he should replicate that, if it works for so many potential home owners.
    I often explain to visitors that once upon a time we had a very unique watering hole and arcade in the form of the Stuart Arms hotel.
    Now we have a shopping arcade just he same as where they come from. I also point out that once upon a time we had a precinct containing a number of old railway houses full of the history of the railway and the district, which could have been the basis of a great tourist attraction.
    Now in the name of development we have a scaled up version of the Tarcoola freight yards – a must see for visitors! In 10 years I will be able to show them a glistening building where the Which Bank is now and invite them inside because it will probably still be empty due to online trading. On the way out I will show them Melanka with its historically significant sign still there: “The dawn of a new era.” They will arrive here either by air or road having passed through a replica of Paralowie (a satellite Northern suburb of Adelaide, where the every second or third house is he same), where there should have been an innovative food production and research institution for them to inspect. We could commission Ted Egan to pen a song ah la the 1960s “Where have all the trees gone?” and have him perform it on the probably still vacant Melanka site.

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  17. Steve Brown
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Given the facile and divisive circumstances that have arisen over sacred trees do you really think we should be adding to our town’s woes by usurping property rights, putting yet another hurdle in the way of development in a town that has already reached crisis point on the development front?
    Restrictions like this are a direct threat to our town’s already struggling economy a site such as the ANZ carpark can be rendered uneconomic to develop by such a restriction on the removal of trees that are after all owned by, and often planted by, the block’s owners.
    Not only will such restrictions result in property owners removing what they can, while they can, they will also lead to less planting of trees in the first place. Even though it’s always a bit sad to see grown trees felled the facts are that the native river red gums are very fast growing when well looked after.
    The decision of one owner or an earlier time to plant in a particular location should not hold our future hostage! That absolutely must apply to such trees as are growing on the Old Melanka Site most of which are not native to this area.
    The restriction on the removal of such trees elsewhere in the nation has led to many difficulties for property owners, often left facing life threatening fire and windfall damage.
    Instead of constantly placing obstacles in the path of property owners and developers let’s put our efforts into what they might bring of benefit to our town and actively encourage them to plant the right trees in the right places.
    Even though there are most definitely exceptions to this rule we must keep in mind that towns are primarily places for buildings and people.
    The old, the superseded and the irrelevant must make way for the new. Let’s keep that in mind as we allow our town to grow and accommodate the places of the future.  
    After all we are surrounded by thousands of kilometers of beautiful natural Trees and bushland, I’m sure there’s a little room for us to do our own thing.

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  18. Denise McLaren
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    This is just like the case of all the trees being removed from the main street when the Mall was being built. The trees were removed from outside of the Connair Building and at 3am on a Sunday morning. The developers moved in and cut down the old tree that was planted by Mona Burns’ family in the early days.
    What a joke! Talk about keeping Alice Green.

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  19. Brendan Meney
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I was saddened and shocked to come upon the treeless site of the ANZ carpark especially given the recent consultations on the creation of the Parsons street biodiversity corridor and the wonderful work that Mike Gillam has done in support of the enhancement project.
    For years I have worked to successfully integrate sacred sites into development within Alice Springs (Centre for Remote Health as an example) and to protect of “our” old trees.
    Where is the logic here by the Aboriginal people involved with Yeperenye?
    If a mature tree that is providing vital shade and wonderful canopy cover has to be removed for a valid reason then why has there not been a strategy developed to grow other trees first, prune dangerous limbs and transition the old tree removal gradually over time?
    Maybe it is time to implement tree protection bylaws if this lack of consideration and understanding is to continue?
    There are available alternatives for engineering and protecting pipe systems around tree roots.
    The weight of “value” needs to truly considered against these important community assets.
    The decision has left many bewildered – Yeperenye Pty Ltd needs to explain “why” to the people who care about their community and this wonderful place that is Alice Springs!

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  20. Pip McManus
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Yet another sad example of civic indifference – if not outright vandalism. Why take the brutal and final option of chopping down fine mature shade trees? Exotic or not, it is time for a sense of community participation which allows discussion and imaginative solutions as the first step in dealing with the visual and physical environment of our town.

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  21. Domenico Pecorari
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

    When I first came to this town in late 1984, you could look out from Anzac Hill and see a canopy of green that expressed, for me at least, The Alice’s character as an “oasis” town.
    It was one of the factors that led me to settle down here call this place “home”.
    Over the years, I’ve seen the canopy reduced through the development of large-scale projects, such as the Ford Plaza, and noticed the almost imperceptible removal of trees, one or two at a time, from our CBD’s car-parks and open spaces.
    Sadly, the recently drafted CBD Built Form Guidelines document, which promotes zero-setback developments to a maximum of five storeys, will see the increased decimation of the canopy and the town permanently transformed into “anywhere, Australia”.
    Yeperenye’s action is only the latest in a trend that has run for decades and reflects the generally low value that we, as a community, put on our town’s trees, trees have taken perhaps a hundred, a hundred and fifty years, to develop their stately presence.
    Our town’s trees should be seen as the valuable assets they are, not only to the owners of the property but to the broader community and the town in general, and their removal ought to be seen as nothing short of vandalism and corporate anti-social behaviour.
    Shame, Yeperenye, Shame!!

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