The issue of the removal of trees in our district has been discussed several times at the Community & Expert Reference Group (CERG) meetings. CERG assists the BushFire Recovery TaskForce headed by Sandy Hollway.
Environment ACT (EA) is very sensitive to the wishes of a large proportion of our local residents that the maximum number of trees should be preserved in our residential areas.
Where the trees are on individual leases, if they are dead, then the leaseholder can remove them without the intervention of EA personnel, but EA are encouraging people to have them checked by an arborist before their removal to ensure that the tree can not be saved.
Where the trees are still alive, then EA is involved in their assessment and they will remove them if they are dangerous. Of course, in the fire-damaged areas, there are some residents who are still traumatised by the fires and EA personnel are sensitive to the fears/worries of these people. Some healthy trees are/have been removed in this situation where the leaseholder has been insistent that this should happen.
Information is that EA personnel are not so obliging in the areas that were not affected by the January 18 fires and our tree preservation policies are strictly enforced in these areas now that the interim grace period is well and truly finished.
In the public areas of Weston Creek (eg road verges, parks, nature strips), Canberra Urban Parks and Places staff are assessing the condition and viability of trees and shrubs in conjunction with arborists and EA personnel and viable trees/shrubs are being left wherever possible.
CERG will be discussing this issue with particular regard to the Streeton Drive/Dixon Drive areas at its next meeting.