The Narrandera Shire Council’s Business Centre Master Plan has been approved, but a local resident is concerned that the plan will come at the expense of Narrandera’s trees.
“I want to raise the issue that under the plan Council has plans to cut down the trees in Twynam Street,” said the resident, who wishes to remain anonymous.
The Business Centre Master Plan contains a section on “street trees” (page 36) which states that the trees on Twynam Street will be “Pin Oak Quercus palustris OR Scarlet Oak Quercus coccinea OR alternative Quercus species”.
“Most people I’ve spoken to don’t realise that they’ll be removed,” the resident said.
“They’re talking about replacing them with Pin Oaks. These trees are a lot smaller. Even at their full maturity they’ll never have the spreading shade.
“It’s not just the that the existing trees are beautiful. It’s the fact that they reduce daytime temperatures by ten degrees. It is absolutely critical that we have the most mature, drought resistant trees around.”
The removal and replacement of trees in the business centre relies entirely on the Master Plan being implemented in full.
Currently, the Narrandera Shire Council is anticipating the funding to implement stage one of the Master Plan on East Street and Bolton Street, which is estimated to cost approximately $4 million. Bolton Street, in particular, will be a case of new trees being planted outright, rather than replaced.
As for the rest of the plan, the overall costings are estimated to be $17 million.
Implementation of the plan will rely on the Narrandera Shire Council’s ability to secure funding to offset these costs and at present the only confirmed implementation is the part of stage one encompassing East Street and Bolton Street.
Regardless of the Master Plan’s viability, the resident would still like to see Council take a more proactive approach to its trees.
“I understand that others have tried to get a tree preservation order, but this has been ignored. They aren’t protected. If this is a town that cares for its trees, then how was this allowed to happen?
“This attitude could spread; if there’s a precedent then it could happen again.”
The resident understood some of the frustrations of having to plan a town around old trees, including problems with communications, storm water and clean-up, especially when it came to London Plane trees.
“I understand that – I have to clean up after mine. But these are the trees we have.
“Councils around the world deal with old trees. There are definitely ways around old trees. It’s a very backwards mentality, removal before preservation.
“There should be an arborist on Council staff.”
Narrandera’s wide shady streets were what attracted the resident to Narrandera and discussions with travellers passing through had also yielded praise of Narrandera’s large, shady trees.
“What kind of town doesn’t have a tree preservation order? The town of trees, and none of them are preserved,” the resident said.