Administrative Centre

30 Frances St

Randwick 2031

Tel: 02 9399 0999

Fax 02 9319 1510

DX 4121 Maroubra Junction

general.manager@randwick.nsw.gov.au

INCORPORATED

AS A MUNICIPALITY

22 FEBRUARY 1859

PROCLAIMED AS

A CITY JULY 1990

 

4 October 2005

 

WORKS COMMITTEE MEETING

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT A WORKS COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANDWICK WILL BE HELD IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, TOWN HALL, 90 AVOCA STREET, RANDWICK, ON TUESDAY, 11TH OCTOBER 2005 AT 6:00 PM.

 

 

Committee Members:               His Worship the Mayor, Cr T. Seng, Crs Andrews (Deputy Chairperson), Belleli, Hughes, Matson, (Chairperson) Notley-Smith, Tracey & White.

 

Quorum:                                   Five (5) members.

 

NOTE: AT THE EXTRAORDINARY MEETING HELD ON 28TH SEPTEMBER, 2004, THE COUNCIL RESOLVED THAT THE WORKS COMMITTEE BE CONSTITUTED AS A COMMITTEE WITH FULL DELEGATION TO DETERMINE MATTERS ON THE AGENDA.

 

 

1           Apologies

 

2           Minutes

 

CONFIRMATION OF THE MINUTES OF THE WORKS COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY, 13TH SEPTEMBER, 2005.

 

3           Declaration of Pecuniary & Non-Pecuniary Interests

 

4           Addresses to Committee by the Public

 

5           Works

 

5.1                        

GENERAL MANAGER'S REPORT 50/2005 - AFFIXING OF THE COUNCIL SEAL.

2

 

5.2                        

DIRECTOR CITY SERVICES’ REPORT 114/2005 - FLASHING LIGHTS AT SCHOOL CROSSINGS.

4

 

5.3                        

DIRECTOR CITY SERVICES’ REPORT 115/2005 -   COUNCIL OWNED FICUS 'HILLII' (HILLS WEEPING FIG) GROWING OUTSIDE 8 HELENA STREET, RANDWICK.

6

 

5.4                        

DIRECTOR CITY SERVICES’ REPORT 116/2005 - OBJECTIONS TO THE REMOVAL OF THE COUNCIL OWNED FICUS 'HILLII' (HILLS FIG) GROWING OUTSIDE 42 BALFOUR ROAD, KENSINGTON.

9

 

 

 

5.5                        

DIRECTOR CITY SERVICES’ REPORT 117/2005 -   TWO COUNCIL OWNED FICUS 'HILLII' (HILLS WEEPING FIGS) GROWING OUTSIDE 20 INGLETHORPE AVENUE, KENSINGTON.

13

 

5.6                        

DIRECTOR CITY SERVICES’ REPORT 118/2005 - COUNCIL-OWNED FICUS 'HILLII' (HILL'S WEEPING FIG) GROWING OUTSIDE 64 RITCHARD AVENUE, COOGEE.

17

 

5.7                        

CONFIDENTIAL DIRECTOR CITY SERVICES’ REPORT 119/2005 - TENDER FOR SUPPLY OF ROAD SWEEPERS AND GULLY EDUCTOR.

 

 

 

6           General Business

 

7           Notice of Rescission Motions

 

 

 

 

…………………………….

GENERAL MANAGER


 

GENERAL MANAGER'S

REPORT 50/2005

 

 

SUBJECT:

AFFIXING OF THE COUNCIL SEAL

 

 

DATE:

29 September, 2005

FILE NO:

F2004/06336

 

 

REPORT BY:            GENERAL MANAGER  

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

Clause 48 of the Local Government (Meetings) Regulations 1993 requires that the Seal of  the Council must be affixed to a document unless the document relates to business of the Council and the Council has resolved (by resolution referring to the document) that the Seal be so affixed.

 

ISSUES:

 

It is necessary for the Council’s Seal to be affixed to the signing of agreements between Council and Clovelly Bowling & Recreational Club Ltd in relation to a licence over part of Burrows Park Reserve, more particularly known as Clovelly Bowling & Recreational Club.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT:

 

A licence agreement with Clovelly Bowling Club will generate an annual income of $8,750.00 + GST.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

As Clause 48 of the Meetings Regulation requires that the Council pass a resolution authorising the Affixing of the Seal, it is necessary for the action to take place to facilitate legal formalities being completed.

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

That authority be granted for the Council’s Seal to be affixed to the signing of agreements between Council and Clovelly Bowling & Recreational Club Ltd in relation to a licence over part of Burrows Park Reserve, more particularly known as Clovelly Bowling & Recreational Club.

 

 

ATTACHMENT/S:

 

Nil

 

..............................................

GENERAL MANAGER

 

 

 

 

 


 

Director, City Services' Report 114/2005

 

 

SUBJECT:

FLASHING LIGHTS AT SCHOOL CROSSINGS.

 

 

DATE:

28 September, 2005

FILE NO:

F2004/08251

 

 

REPORT BY:            DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES     

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

The Works Committee at its meeting on 14th June, 2005, resolved, ‘inter alia’ on the Motion of Councillors Belleli and Seng that -

 

“that a report be bought back to the Works Committee on the installation of flashing lights at all school pedestrian crossings in the City of Randwick

 

ISSUES:

 

Advice was sought from the RTA on the outcome of school zone flashing light trials and it has advised that:

 

“The RTA is currently conducting a trial of flashing lights at 43 School Zone sites across NSW. 

 

The purpose of the trial is to determine whether flashing lights in 40 km/h School Zones improve motorist’s compliance with these zones.

 

Traffic and speed counts at each site were undertaken prior to the installation of the lights.  As the lights are now operational these counts will be taken again so that an evaluation of the trial can be undertaken by around the middle of next year.

 

Initial speed results collected within the first three months of the trial were inconclusive, and in some cases drivers actually increased their speed.  At no school did average speeds drop to 40 km/h.

 

An independent reference group is overseeing the trial with representation from the Department of Education and Training, NSW Police, the Motor Accidents Authority, the Local Government and Shires Association, the NSW Parents and Citizens Association, the Independent Schools Association, the Catholic Education Commission and the NSW Parents Council.”

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT:

 

There is no direct financial impact for this matter.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

At this stage it would seem premature of Council to seek installation of flashing lights at school zones.  It is considered that Council should await the finalisation of the current trials before deciding upon a course of action.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

That the information contained in the Director’s Report dated 28 September, 2005, be received and noted.

 

 

ATTACHMENT/S:

 

Nil

 

 

 

………………………………

………………………………

JORDE FRANGOPLES

TONY LEHMANN

DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES

CO-ORDINATOR TRANSPORT MANAGEMENT

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Director, City Services' Report 115/2005

 

 

SUBJECT:

COUNCIL OWNED FICUS 'HILLII' (HILLS WEEPING FIG) GROWING OUTSIDE 8 HELENA STREET, RANDWICK.  

 

 

DATE:

5 September, 2005

FILE NO:

F2004/07359

 

 

 

REPORT BY:            DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES  

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

The owner of 8 Helena Street, Randwick, Mr George Shaloub, has written to Council requesting the removal of the Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’ (Hill’s Weeping fig) growing on the nature strip outside his property and for it to be replaced with a more appropriate tree species.

 

ISSUES:

 

This tree has been root pruned in the past by Council’s tree gang because of root damage that was being caused to the adjacent footpath area. Roots have also undermined the front fence of the property and appear to have caused cracking to the entranceway inside the property.

 

Tree roots have had to be cleared from the sewerage pipes within the property over a protracted period of time.

 

The tree has been pruned away from the property alignment on a number of occasions and has also regularly been pruned away from the overhead electricity mains.

 

The tree has been assessed as having a low risk potential. It has also been assessed as having a medium hazard rating when issues such as failure potential, target rating and the size of any potential branch failures are considered.

 

It has been recognised as having high scenic/environmental amenity and with providing important habitat/food source. The effect of removal on soil stability/land degradation would be negligible.

 

The tree has been calculated as having an amenity value of $16,200 – using the Standards Australia AS – DR99307 valuation guide.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT:

 

The cost to remove and stump grind this tree and to replace it with a 100-litre super-advanced replacement tree would be in the vicinity of $2,500. This money would come from Council’s tree management budget.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

The problems associated with this healthy and significant street tree are at this stage only relatively minor for a tree of its size.

 

There has been some minor infrastructure damage caused to the adjacent footpath, kerb and gutter and there is also some minor undermining of the nearby front fence. The tree has to be regularly pruned away from the property alignment and overhead powerlines.

 

Sewer blockages have occurred over a protracted period but this probably indicates that the system is in a declining condition as much as tree root intrusion.

 

Because of the prominence of this and other trees of the same species in the streetscape and the fact that until now its roots have caused relatively minor infrastructure damage to either public or private property, I would recommend that the tree be retained until there is a more compelling reason for removal.

 

This is particularly the case since two large trees of the same species were removed and stump ground only recently in Helena Street and the removal of this particular tree would exceed the limit set by Council’s resolution that no more than five percent of canopy cover in any significant streetscape be removed in any twelve month period.

 

Council at its Ordinary Council Meeting held on Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, resolved that Works Committee would consider and determine any applications/requests (not subjected to delegated authority) associated with the removal of significant trees (Resolution 295).

 

However, there are a number of procedural and/or policy matters relating to a number of elements within Resolution 295 that are still either being drafted or are the subject of legal opinion/briefing.

 

It is therefore perhaps appropriate that until these matters have been fully resolved and Council commences its adopted development consent procedure for dealing with the proposed removal of significant trees within the City, that any such recommendations are forwarded to Works Committee for resolution. 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

THAT the Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’ (Hill’s Weeping fig) growing on the nature strip outside 8 Helena Street, Randwick, be retained until there is a compelling reason to approve removal.

 

 

ATTACHMENT/S:

 

Nil

 

 

………………………………

………………………………

JORDE FRANGOPLES

BRYAN BOURKE

DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES

TREE MANAGEMENT OFFICER

 

 

 


 

Director, City Services' Report 116/2005

 

 

SUBJECT:

OBJECTIONS TO THE REMOVAL OF THE COUNCIL OWNED FICUS 'HILLII' (HILLS FIG) GROWING OUTSIDE 42 BALFOUR ROAD, KENSINGTON

 

 

DATE:

28 September, 2005

FILE NO:

F2004/07359

 

 

 

REPORT BY:            DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES   

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

Council at its meeting held on 12 July, 2005, considered a request by the owner of 42 Balfour Road, Kensington, to remove the Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’ (Hill’s Weeping fig) growing on the nature strip outside that property and resolved that the subject tree be removed and replaced with an advanced Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese Elm) – as per Council’s Street Tree Masterplan.

 

ISSUES:

 

As a result of that resolution, letters from four property owners in Balfour Road, Kensington, were sent to Council objecting to the removal and replacement proposal and also highlighting a number of concerns regarding the process utilised by Council in arriving at its decision.

 

These property owners are extremely upset that there was no consultation between Council and residents about the proposed removal and possible retention alternatives as well as with the proposed replacement species.

 

In their correspondence they highlight the negative impact that removal will have on the streetscape (the significance of this tree species throughout the City of Randwick has never been negated) as well as the large financial loss to Council of removal (the authors claim that the tree has an estimated value in excess of $120,000 whereas, using the Standards Australia AS – DR99307 valuation method, Council officers value the tree at $14,400).

 

This formula takes into account valuation factors such as size of tree, useful life expectancy, importance in landscape, presence of other trees, appropriateness to the setting, form, etc.

 

The objectors also make the claim that the tree is over 80 years old when in fact most of the trees of this species planted as street trees throughout Randwick were planted in the decade following the end of World War II – which would make the tree approximately 50 years old.

 

They also voice their displeasure with the choice of Chinese Elms as the replacement species and state that they are unsuitable for the area, are not an Australian native, and are not drought resistant and that they are not an evergreen tree species.

 

This species of tree has in fact been used as a street tree in some of the most nutrient deficient soils throughout the entire City and once established grows extremely well with very few pest and disease problems.

 

There is actually a good example of this species growing in Goodrich Avenue, Kensington, which highlights the average dimensions of the species at maturity.

 

Council’s Street Tree Masterplan nominates thirteen tree species for this particular precinct – of which eleven are Australian natives. Perhaps if the majority of Balfour Road property owners were not happy with Chinese Elms as the preferred species then another species could be nominated.

 

Among those listed are Acmena smithii (Lilly Pilly), Glochidion ferdinandi (Cheese tree), Lophostemon confertus (Brushbox), Syzygium luehmannii (Small-leaf Lilly Pilly) and Waterhousia floribunda (Weeping Lilly Pilly).

 

As stated in previous reports to Council, the owner of 42 Balfour Road, Kensington, Ms Peggy Cheng initially wrote to Council on 30 October, 2003, advising that a relatively large tree root had been found in the basement area of her residence and indicating that she felt this root had emanated from the fig tree growing on the nature strip outside the property.

 

A subsequent site inspection confirmed that the root belonged to the Council-owned street tree and that there were a number of roots growing into the property. Large sections of the paved footpath area adjacent to where the tree is growing have had to be replaced on several occasions.

 

Since November, 2003, Council’s Tree Gang has had to return to the property on two occasions to sever roots growing underneath the residence and into the basement and laundry areas.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT:

 

The total cost to remove and stump grind the subject tree, re-instate the nature strip, driveway and footpath, and to replace the tree with a 100-litre advanced replacement species would be approximately $4,000 and this would come from Council’s annual tree management budget.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

Even though there is no actual physical evidence that roots from this tree are causing structural damage to the residence at 42 Balfour Road, Kensington, damage problems associated with this species of tree throughout the entire Randwick City area would suggest that it is probably only a matter of time before actual and potentially serious structural damage starts to occur.

 

At present Council is dealing with a range of significant damages issues relating to these trees in a number of streets including Helena Street, Barry Street, Ritchard Avenue, George Street, as well as others in which they are growing.

 

As is the case with most of these trees when they are planted in relatively narrow nature strip situations, root pruning and the installation of tree root barriers are not feasible options because they will have a serious detrimental effect on the stability and long term viability of the tree/s and there is no guarantee that any barrier would actually be effective.

 

As a result of Council’s 12 July, 2005, resolution, the owner of 34 Balfour Road, Kensington, Ms P M Duncan, wrote to Council on 22 July, 2005, requesting the removal and replacement of the Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’ growing on the nature strip outside her property.

 

Ms Duncan cited similar problems as those experienced by the owner of 42 Balfour Road as reasons for wanting this tree removed and replaced with something more appropriate and highlighted the fact that it would be desirable to address the potential for damage this tree represented in the shorter term rather than waiting until it became more serious. 

 

Ms Duncan subsequently wrote to Council on 26 July, 2005, and stated that following further deliberations as well as discussions with her neighbours, that it would not be in the best interests of all concerned to have the tree outside her property removed and that she therefore rescinded her previous request for removal.

 

Although the problems currently associated with both the Ficus ‘Hillii’ outside 42 Balfour Road and 36 Balfour Road are relatively minor and both trees are significant in the streetscape, history would show that in the longer term any such problems will only get worse and will probably become serious and expensive. 

 

The streets previously highlighted where Ficus ‘Hillii’ are growing as street trees are typical examples of the costs associated with the serious root damage caused by this species of tree.

 

Council at its Ordinary Council Meeting held on Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, resolved that Works Committee would consider and determine any applications/requests (not subjected to delegated authority) associated with the removal of significant trees (Resolution 295).

 

However, there are a number of procedural and/or policy matters relating to a number of elements within Resolution 295 that are still either being drafted or are the subject of legal opinion/briefing.

 

It is therefore perhaps appropriate that until these matters have been fully resolved and Council commences its adopted development consent procedure for dealing with the proposed removal of significant trees within the City that any such recommendations are forwarded to Works Committee for resolution. 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

THAT the original resolution approved by Council at its meeting held on 12 July, 2005, to remove the Council-owned Ficus microcarpa var. ‘Hillii’ (Hill’s Weeping fig) growing on the nature strip outside 42 Balfour Road, Kensington, be complied with and that the issue of a replacement species for the entire street be determined by the majority of property owners in Balfour Road – any such species to be selected specifically from Council’s Street Tree Masterplan.

 

 

ATTACHMENT/S:

 

Nil

 

 

 

……………………………

………………………………

JORDE FRANGOPLES

BRYAN BOURKE

DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES

TREE MANAGEMENT OFFICER

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Director, City Services' Report 117/2005

 

 

SUBJECT:

TWO COUNCIL OWNED FICUS 'HILLII' (HILLS WEEPING FIGS) GROWING OUTSIDE 20 INGLETHORPE AVENUE, KENSINGTON.

 

 

DATE:

20 September, 2005

FILE NO:

F2004/07359

 

 

REPORT BY:            DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES    

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

The owner of 20 Inglethorpe Avenue, Kensington, Mrs Sophia Coplin, has written to Council requesting the removal and replacement of the two mature Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’ (Hill’s Weeping figs) growing on the nature strip outside that property.

 

ISSUES:

 

Mrs Coplin has only recently purchased the property and is experiencing a number of serious problems in relation to the roots of the two trees growing outside the front of the property.

 

The problems relating to these two trees, as detailed by Mrs Coplin, are chronicled below - along with a summary of any appropriate actions that would allow those problems to be addressed.

 

·    Continued blockages of drains and gutters as expressed on numerous occasions – Mrs Coplin has stated that she recently spend $15,000 to replace the sewerage pipes in the front of her property with PVC plastic and she is concerned that this will be a waste of money when the aggressive nature of the roots of these trees are considered.

 

There is some justification to those concerns – although if the pipes have been replaced between the Sydney Water mains into the property itself and those works have been done to the appropriate standard, blockages may not recur for some time.

 

·    Devaluation of properties due to recent local print coverage of the problems associated with this tree species – Mrs Coplin claims that a property in Day Avenue was recently assessed by an engineer as having serious structural damage caused by the roots of this species of tree that would cost in the vicinity of $250,000 to repair.

 

She also claims that the prospective purchaser then forfeited their $140,000 deposit on the property because of concerns about the range and extent of tree root damage to the residence.

 

Although those figures seem excessively high, there is no doubt that the roots of these trees are capable of causing very extensive and costly structural damage to both public infrastructure and private property.

 

·    Exposed above ground tree roots – these are a feature of this particular tree species (they are a rainforest tree) and do constitute a liability issue for Council. However, that of itself is not a compelling reason to justify removal.

 

·    Roots have invaded the property and have damaged the front fence and are beginning to damage the foundations – the owner has only recently carried out extensive repairs to the front brick fence which were caused by tree root intrusion.

 

Recent landscaping works inside the front of the property have exposed an extensive network of Ficus roots running throughout the entire front yard area.

 

·    During the recent replacement of the damaged footpath area at the front of the property the brick fence was damaged – this claim will need to be assessed by Council’s insurance office.

 

·    Stains from fruit and bat droppings corrode vehicle paintwork – this is a seasonal issue and could only be addressed by severe and inappropriate pruning or removal of the subject trees.

 

·    Risk to health from bat droppings – again, this is a seasonal issue which could only be eliminated by the complete removal of the two Ficus ‘Hillii’ growing outside the front of the property.

 

·    Fruit and droppings constitute a very serious trip hazard and liability issue for Council – this is certainly a relevant concern but one that is seasonal and which is associated with any Ficus ‘Hillii’ growing anywhere within the City.

 

·    Roots continually crack the driveway and adjacent footpath area – both of which were recently replaced by Council and which involved serious and extreme root pruning that could in the long term have a detrimental impact on the structure and health of both trees.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT:

 

The total cost to remove and stump grind the two subject trees, re-instate the nature strip, damaged driveways and footpath areas, and to replace the trees with two super-advanced replacement species would be approximately $6,000 in total and this would come from Council’s annual tree management budget.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

The owner of 20 Inglethorpe Avenue, Kensington, has put Council on notice that should her property, family, visitors or invitees to her property be injured she will hold Council fully responsible and she has demanded that the two subject trees be removed to mitigate further damages to her property.

 

Several years ago two trees of the same species were removed from outside 11-13 Inglethorpe Avenue because of similar problems and only two months ago Council approved the removal and replacement of two mature Ficus ‘Hillii’ growing on the nature strip adjacent to 16 Inglethorpe Avenue, Kensington.

 

As recently as last month Council resolved to remove and replace two Ficus ‘Hillii’ growing on the nature strip outside 17-19 Inglethorpe Avenue, Kensington, because of root damage similar to that being caused by the two trees outside 20 Inglethorpe Avenue.

 

The problems associated with these particular trees are typical for the species and will continue (and will only get worse) for as long as the trees remain.

 

This species of tree is entirely inappropriate for growing in a confined nature strip situation such as this, immediately adjacent to a brick fence, concrete footpath and driveway and adjacent residence.

 

The footpath next to the trees has had to be replaced only recently because of tree root damage and large tree roots have damaged the adjacent front brick fence.

 

Severe tree root pruning has only just been undertaken to allow the construction of a driveway into the property and inevitably tree root re-growth will be damaging and undermining both the driveway and adjacent footpath within two-three years.

 

The installation of a tree root barrier is not a feasible option because it would compromise the stability of the trees and would adversely impact upon their long term health. Any such barrier would only be a temporary solution to a small number of the problems associated with the trees and eventually tree roots would simply grow over or under any such barrier.

 

The trees have been assessed as having a low risk potential. They have also been assessed as having a medium hazard rating when issues such as failure potential, target rating and the size of any potential branch failures are considered.

 

They have both been assessed as having significant scenic/environmental amenity and with providing important habitat/food source. The effect of removal on soil stability/land degradation would be negligible.

 

The trees have been calculated as having an average amenity value of $21,600 using the Standards Australia AS – DR99307 valuation guide.

 

The only effective long-term solution to dealing with the range of problems being caused by the roots of these two street trees is to remove them both and replace them with a suitable number of a more appropriate species.

 

However, there have been two of these trees removed from adjacent to 16 Inglethorpe Avenue, Kensington, in the past six months and Council has only recently approved the removal and replacement of two Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’ growing on the nature strip outside 17-19 Inglethorpe Avenue.

 

The removal of the two fig trees growing outside 20 Inglethorpe Avenue would therefore exceed the five percent per annum limit imposed by Council resolution on the removal of Ficus ‘Hillii’ from within streets containing significant numbers of that species.

 

Council at its Ordinary Council Meeting held on Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, resolved that Works Committee would consider and determine any applications/requests (not subjected to delegated authority) associated with the removal of significant trees (Resolution 295).

 

However, there are a number of procedural and/or policy matters relating to a number of elements within Resolution 295 that are still either being drafted or are the subject of legal opinion/briefing.

 

It is perhaps appropriate that until these matters have been fully resolved and Council commences its adopted development consent procedure for dealing with the proposed removal of significant trees within the City, that any such recommendations are forwarded to Works Committee for resolution. 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

THAT the removal and replacement of the two Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’ (Hill’s Weeping figs) growing on the nature strip outside 20 Inglethorpe Avenue, Kensington, be removed in twelve months to comply with Council’s resolution that no more than five percent of canopy cover in any street containing significant numbers of Hill’s Weeping fig be removed within any twelve month period.

 

 

ATTACHMENT/S:

 

Nil

 

 

………………………………

………………………………

JORDE FRANGOPLES

BRYAN BOURKE

DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES

TREE MANAGEMENT OFFICER

 

 


 

Director, City Services' Report 118/2005

 

 

 

SUBJECT:

Council-owned Ficus 'Hillii' (Hill's Weeping Fig) growing outside 64 Ritchard Avenue, Coogee.

 

 

DATE:

14 September, 2005

FILE NO:

F2004/07359

 

 

REPORT BY:            DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES  

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

The owner of 64 Ritchard Avenue, Coogee, Mrs Annie Sinclair, has written to Council requesting the removal and replacement of the Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’  (Hill’s Weeping fig) growing on the nature strip outside that property.

 

The subject tree is one of a number growing along both sides of the street and as such it is quite significant and contributes to a streetscape of recognised significance.

 

ISSUES:

 

The tree is approximately eight metres in height with a canopy spread of around eight-nine metres. It is one of a number of the same species growing along the northern side of the street.

 

All the fig trees in the street have to be pruned on a regular and ongoing basis to maintain statutory clearances around overhead powerlines and domestic service wires. This particular tree has been pruned around the wires to such an extent that the majority of canopy now overhangs into the front yard area of 64 Ritchard Avenue.

 

Tree roots have in the past damaged the adjacent footpath area and this damaged footpath has been removed - with some root pruning undertaken - but this is only a temporary measure for dealing with this particular problem.

 

Mrs Sinclair has cited as reasons for wanting the tree removed the fact that its roots cause ongoing and serious damage to adjacent public infrastructure, that the roots regularly block her sewerage pipes, that the leaves and fruit are continually blocking her gutters and that both constitute a serious trip hazard, as well as the fact that they have to be continually pruned out of the powerlines and domestic service wires.

 

Mrs Sinclair would like the tree replaced with an advanced Syzygium luehmannii (Lilly Pilly) – as per Council’s Street Tree Masterplan.

 

The tree has been assessed as having a low risk potential. It has also been assessed as having a medium hazard rating when issues such as failure potential, target rating and the size of any potential branch failures are considered.

 

It has been assessed as having significant scenic/environmental amenity and with providing important habitat/food source. The effect of removal on soil stability/land degradation would be negligible.

 

The tree has been calculated as having an amenity value of $7,200 using the Standards Australia AS – DR99307 valuation guide.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT:

 

The total cost to remove and stump grind the subject tree, re-instate the nature strip and footpath, and to replace the tree with a 100-litre advanced replacement species would be approximately $3,000 and this would come from Council’s annual tree management budget.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

This species of tree is entirely inappropriate for growing in a confined nature strip situation such as this, immediately adjacent to a raised retaining wall, concrete footpath and adjacent residence.

 

The footpath next to the tree has had to be repaired previously because of tree root damage and large tree roots have the potential to damage and compromise the adjacent retaining wall.

 

The installation of a tree root barrier is not a feasible option because it would compromise the stability of the tree and would adversely impact upon its long term health. Any such barrier would only be a temporary solution to a small number of the problems associated with the tree and eventually tree roots would simply grow over or under any such barrier.

 

The only effective long-term solution to dealing with the range of problems being caused by the roots of this tree and to allow the property owner to undertake necessary retaining wall rectification works is to remove the subject tree and to replace it with an advanced Syzygium luehmannii (Lilly Pilly).

 

Mr Colin Sinclair initially wrote to Council in March, 2003, requesting the removal and replacement of the subject tree for the same reasons given in his wife’s 11 September, 2005, email request to Council.

 

However, there have been three of these trees removed from Ritchard Avenue, Coogee, in the past six months and the removal of this tree would exceed the five percent per annum limit imposed for streets planted out with significant numbers of Ficus ‘Hillii’.

 

Council at its Ordinary Council Meeting held on Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, resolved that Works Committee would consider and determine any applications/requests (not subjected to delegated authority) associated with the removal of significant trees (Resolution 295).

 

However, there are a number of procedural and/or policy matters relating to a number of elements within Resolution 295 that are still either being drafted or are the subject of legal opinion/briefing.

 

It is perhaps appropriate that until these matters have been fully resolved and Council commences its adopted development consent procedure for dealing with the proposed removal of significant trees within the City, that any such recommendations are forwarded to Works Committee for resolution. 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

THAT the removal and replacement of the Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’ (Hill’s Weeping fig) growing on the nature strip outside 64 Ritchard Avenue, Coogee, be postponed for at least twelve months to comply with Council’s resolution that no more than five percent of canopy cover in any street containing significant numbers of Hill’s Weeping fig be removed within any twelve month period.

 

ATTACHMENT/S:

 

Nil

 

 

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JORDE FRANGOPLES

BRYAN BOURKE

DIRECTOR, CITY SERVICES

TREE MANAGEMENT OFFICER