Works Committee Meeting

 

  BUSINESS PAPER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 10 July 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Administrative Centre 30 Frances Street Randwick 2031

Telephone: 02 9399 0999 or

1300 722 542 (for Sydney metropolitan area)

Fax:02 9319 1510

general.manager@randwick.nsw.gov.au

www.randwick.nsw.gov.au


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Works Committee                                                                                                    10 July 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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, 10 July 2012 at 6pm.

 

 

Committee Members:           The Mayor (S Nash), Andrews, Belleli, Bowen, Hughes (Deputy Chairperson), Matson, Matthews (Chairperson), Notley-Smith, Procopiadis, Seng, Smith, Stevenson, Tracey, White and Woodsmith

 

Quorum:                           Eight (8) members

 

NOTE:    At the Extraordinary Meeting held on 28 September 2004, the Council resolved that the Works Committee be constituted as a committee with full delegation to determine matters on the agenda.

 

Apologies/Granting of Leave of Absences 

Confirmation of the Minutes  

Works Committee Meeting - 12 June 2012

Declarations of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Address of Committee by Members of the Public

Urgent Business

Works Reports

W14/12     Diseased Canary Island Date Palms adjacent to 48 Coogee Bay Road, Randwick

W15/12     Council-Owned Ficus 'Hillii' (Hill's Weeping Fig) Growing outside 33 Maitland Avenue, Kingsford    

Notice of Rescission Motions

Nil 

 

 

 

…………………………………………………….

Ray Brownlee

General Manager


Works Committee                                                                                                    10 July 2012

 

 

Works Report No. W14/12

 

 

Subject:                  Diseased Canary Island Date Palms adjacent to 48 Coogee Bay Road, Randwick

Folder No:                   F2004/07359

Author:                   Bryan Bourke, Tree Management Officer     

 

Introduction

 

A recent on-site inspection undertaken by Council’s Coordinator Tree Management Services has revealed that four mature and significant Council owned Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island Date palms) growing on the north-east corner of the intersection of St Luke St and Coogee Bay Road, Randwick, are in a seriously declining state of health and now constitute a danger to persons and/or property.

 

Issues

 

The four subject palms provide important visual amenity and have significance at the local level in terms of their historic, aesthetic, social and cultural values.

 

This palm species was used extensively as a commemorative planting in public parklands and civic streetscapes following the First World War. The palm, a subtropical/warm temperate exotic species, was highly favoured in formal planting schemes due to its relatively uniform growth pattern, bold accent, dramatic scale, symmetry and tolerance to poor sandy soils, salt wind exposure and periods of drought.

 

Canary Island Date palms were ideally suited to the Randwick area (several are listed on Council’s Significant Tree Register - including Randwick Racecourse, Castle Street, Garnet Street and Kensington Green). This species of palm, however, has been decimated over the last decade as a result of introduced fungal pathogens in the soil, particularly the untreatable fungal disease Fusarium oxysporum. As a result of their sudden decline in health Council engaged the services of an independent arborist to assess their health and long-term viability and to make recommendations on their long-term retention and management. Because their decline was so sudden and large sections of the crown of all four contained masses of dead and falling palm fronds, it was anticipated that all four would be found to be infected with Fusarium oxysporum and would probably have to be removed and replaced.

 

Relationship to City plan

 

The relationship with the City Plan is as follows:

 

Outcome 10:             A Healthy Environment.

Direction 10b:                   Environmental risks and impacts are strategically managed.

Key Action:                       Develop and implement policies, programs and strategies to manage environmental risks and impacts.

 


Financial Impact Statement

 

The cost to remove and stump grind these four diseased Date palms and to replace them with four super-advanced Waterhousia floribunda (Weeping Lilly Pillys) would be in the vicinity of $10,000 and this would come from Council’s annual tree management budget.

 

Conclusion

 

These four mature and stately palm trees have been a fixture at this location for several decades. Although growing quite close to a nearby block of units they have required very little ongoing maintenance other than the regular removal of dead fronds. They are on average 14-15 metres in height with canopy spreads of approximately eight metres. As a result, whenever large spiky fronds detach from the crown they have the potential to cause serious injury or damage. This is of particular concern because Coogee Bay Road is a high traffic street, linking Randwick with Coogee Beach, which is utilised by large numbers of school students and other pedestrians.

 

Regrettably, approximately 90% of the fronds on palms two and four are dead and at present 30-40% of the fronds on palms one and three have also died. Although most of these dead fronds are still attached to the subject palms they are dropping in ever-increasing numbers and constitute an increasing risk to persons and/or property.

 

As anticipated, the arborist’s report identified that all four palms were suffering severe attack from the fungal disease Fusarium oxysporum f.sp canariensis – commonly known as Fusarium Wilt. This is a subspecies of Fusarium oxysporum, which is a fungal disease of the vascular system particularly affecting Phoenix palms, other palm species and other types of vegetation.

 

These palms exhibit the classic and well documented symptoms associated with the effects of this disease:

 

·       The live foliage coverage has died from the oldest fronds in the lower canopy upwards.

 

·       Yellowing and browning on live leaf tips on both sides of each frond.

 

The original source of infection in these palms is not known but it is most commonly spread through the movement of water through infected soil.

 

In the professional opinion of the inspecting arborist palms two and four have been acutely affected by Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. canariensis. Palms one and three are also in decline, with the fungal pathogen steadily killing the rest of their remaining live canopy. Although palms one and three have not succumbed to the effects of the fungal pathogen as much as palms two and four, their remaining useful lifespan is considered to be less than five years. For these reasons all four palms will require removal, as there is no cure for the disease or remedial actions that would improve their health or prolong their remaining useful life. Retaining these dying specimens increases the risk of injury or damage to pedestrians or vehicles on the frequently used adjacent footpath and roadway.

 

As the fungal spores can remain in the soil for a very long period of time and will survive in any affected root mass that remains in the soil after a diseased tree is removed, replanting with Phoenix palms or other related palm species within the immediate vicinity is not recommended.

 

 

Recommendation

 

That the four diseased Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island Date palms) growing adjacent to 48 Coogee Bay Road, Randwick, be removed and replaced with an appropriate number of advanced Waterhousia floribunda (Weeping Lilly Pillys) – a species resistant to the fungal disease Fusarium oxysporum.

 

Attachment/s:

 

1.View

Photograph of four Date palms clearly indicating state of decline and large numbers of dead fronds dropping to the ground.

 

 

 

 


Photograph of four Date palms clearly indicating state of decline and large numbers of dead fronds dropping to the ground.

Attachment 1

 

 


Works Committee                                                                                                    10 July 2012

 

 

Works Report No. W15/12

 

 

Subject:                  Council-Owned Ficus 'Hillii' (Hill's Weeping Fig) Growing outside 33 Maitland Avenue, Kingsford

Folder No:                   F2004/07359

Author:                   Bryan Bourke, Tree Management Officer     

 

Introduction

 

The owner of 33 Maitland Avenue, Kingsford, has lodged a service request with Council detailing a range of serious structural damage to his property being caused by the roots of a large Council-owned Ficus ‘Hillii’ (Hill’s Weeping fig) street tree growing on the nature strip outside the property.

 

Issues

 

The owner of this property has been experiencing a range of tree root related issues for many years and has requested the removal of the tree on more than one occasion.

 

Council’s Tree Gang recently excavated along the entire property frontage and a site inspection confirmed these tree root problems, as well as highlighting the fact that fig tree roots were also damaging adjacent public infrastructure. The tree concerned is in good health and is one of several growing along both sides of Maitland Avenue, Kingsford. The tree is approximately 16 metres in height and around 20 metres across the canopy. It is an important provider of habitat and food source and provides significant visual amenity.

 

The subject tree has been root pruned on a number of occasions over many years to the extent that no further root shaving or cutting is a viable option. The adjacent footpath section was replaced less than two years prior to being recently removed. Council’s Tree Gang arborist has advised that the amount of root pruning required to deal with the range of damage being caused would render the tree unstable and would dramatically impact on its health. In addition, the canopy has had to be regularly pruned away from the roof of the adjacent property and out of overhead powerlines to achieve the required clearances.

 

Relationship to City plan

 

The relationship to the City Plan is as follows:

 

Outcome 10:           A Healthy Environment.

Direction 10b:          Environmental risks and impacts are strategically managed.

Key Action:             Develop and implement policies, programs and strategies to manage environmental risks and impacts.

 

Financial Impact Statement

 

The cost to remove and stump grind this tree and to replace it with two super-advanced Waterhousia floribunda (Weeping Lilly Pillys) would be in the vicinity of $3,000 and this would come from Council’s annual tree management budget.

 

 


Conclusion

 

The roots of this street tree are causing ongoing and worsening damage to the adjacent property and public infrastructure. The tree has been root pruned on a number of occasions to ensure retention but this is no longer a practical management option.

 

Of even more concern is that if this tree is not removed as soon as practicable it will cost Council a considerable amount of money for increasing property and infrastructure repairs – as well as constituting an ongoing trip/liability hazard.

 

Branches have to be regularly pruned out of the overhead powerlines and the canopy creates significant shadowing of the adjacent footpath and residence at night and during the winter months. The removal and replacement of this problematic street tree would certainly fall within the parameters originally set out in Council’s resolution relating to aggressive-rooted street trees, although its removal would have a major impact on the visual amenity of the surrounding streetscape. It should also be noted that several trees of the same species have had to be removed from Maitland Avenue over the past decade because of the serious and increasing amount of damage being caused by their roots.

 

Recommendation

 

That the Council-owned Ficus microcarpa var. ‘Hillii’ (Hill’s Weeping fig) growing on the nature strip outside 33 Maitland Avenue, Kingsford, be removed and replaced with an appropriate number of more appropriate tree species – as per Council’s Street Tree Masterplan.

 

Attachment/s:

 

1.View

Series of photographs highlighting the visual significance of the Hill’s Weeping fig outside 33 Maitland Avenue, Kingsford, and the range of serious tree root damage being caused to both public infrastructure and private property.

 

 

 

 


Series of photographs highlighting the visual significance of the Hill’s Weeping fig outside 33 Maitland Avenue, Kingsford, and the range of serious tree root damage being caused to both public infrastructure and private property.

Attachment 1

 

 

Significance of Ficus ‘Hillii’ street tree in the streetscape and proximity to powerlines

 

Tree roots have cracked the adjacent concrete driveway strips in several places

Large tree roots have damaged and dislodged several sections of the front brick fence

 

Brick fence and entranceway pillar dislodged because of fig tree root activity

Large root has cracked and uplifted the entranceway into the front of the property

 

Cracking caused to tessellated tile entranceway caused by fig tree root intrusion


Tree roots running into the adjoining property at 31 Maitland Avenue

 

Cracking to the front brick fence on adjacent property caused by Ficus ‘Hillii’ tree roots

 

Large section of matted tree roots between the properties at 31-33 Maitland Ave