It would seem that Glamorgan Spring Bay Council’s processes, their tree policy and their duty to keep the community informed has failed.
Evidently the Arborist’s report on the health of the three Eucalyptus globulus in the front garden of the school, was only received and read by the General Manager after the trees had been removed.
Clearly there has either been a break-down in communications between Arborist, Head Master and Glamorgan Spring Bay Council’s General Manager; or the council’s processes for dealing with these matters.
I understand that the Head Master’s letter to the council regarding the health and future of the trees was written sometime in December 2009. Did the Head Master fail to pass on the Arborist’s report to council, or did the council fail to act on it?
It is apparent that the report could have been interpreted in a more sensible light, and a less drastic course of action taken. Pruning, fencing and a gradual reduction of the trees with replacement planting taking place would have been a less confrontational course of action with ultimately the same result.
It could be a reasonable argument to deem the front area of the school an unsuitable place for children to be playing — the area is not totally fenced, has no gates and has easy car access; possible intruders with unpleasant intentions are presented with no barriers. A play-ground behind the school, out of the way of trees and passers-by, could have been an alternative course of action.
Besides the serious repercussions that will involve the school children, there are the wider environmental implications. These I know have very little value to many, but given the increasing awareness of global climate issues, it is a point to be given serious consideration, that one person in a position of power can make a decision and act upon it, to the detriment of the environment and the community.
I am continually dismayed at council’s lack of concern, and lack of action on the issue of street trees; or any sensible, rational and coherent tree policy that is looking to the future.
It is very easy to say it is not my problem, and that I won’t be here; and that sadly is the general attitude, but it should not be the attitude of an enlightened council.
Sometime in the near future, cities and towns will be accountable for their carbon emissions, and it will be mandatory that it can be demonstrated that this can be balanced by their street trees acting as sinks or for sequestration.
Trees are major sinks of carbon, and sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide for long periods of time. If a tree is chopped down the carbon is released into the atmosphere making matters significantly worse. The argument that ‘this was only three trees and they won’t matter’ is not relevant, every plant counts, they are the major players in the well-being of the planet.
The destruction of these trees goes further than the implications for the children and the residents of the town that cherished them. An entire ecosystem has been lost – the birds, insects and micro-organisms that sustain a healthy ecology.
Dismay is hardly an adequate word to describe how many in the community are feeling; personally I am shocked and totally disheartened that the council fails to deal with the tree issue with any sense or rationality.
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