Harlin Street, Laurimar, was one of several streets earkmarked to have trees removed but the City of Whittlesea has backflipped after residents opposed the idea.

By Colin MacGillivray

LAURIMAR residents have won a battle to keep trees on their properties after the City of Whittlesea partially reversed a decision to remove about 140 trees from several streets in the estate.

About 140 trees on Woodstock Drive, Sparrowhawk Road, Harlin Street, Geebung Place and Sheoak Street had been slated for removal between February and March.

A letter from council to residents said the existing tree species in the area, combined with soil type and condition and extended drought periods had resulted in damage to some properties and had the potential to cause more damage if the trees were not removed.

But some residents disputed council’s claims, with Geebung Place property owner Paul Adams saying too many trees would be removed.

Mr Adams said some parts of Sparrowhawk Road, Sheoak Street and Woodstock Drive had been built on a floodplain, making the soil unstable and allowing trees to undermine building foundations, but that the northern end of Geebung Place and Harlin Street were above the floodplain and therefore not affected.

After several other residents raised their concerns about the removal of the trees, Mr Adams said council agreed to retain many of them.

“All the trees in Harlan Street and the northern end of Geebung Place, where I live, are now staying, as well as two trees that they relented on Woodstock Drive,” he said.

“My neighbour had a chat to someone from the council and said that they had another look at the geotechnical report and it was a bit different here compared to the other streets.

“I rang the council back and we had a good chat. He said it’s not often you get residents who are keen on keeping trees – it’s normally the other way around.”

Mr Adams said it was a good result for residents as the area’s trees were home to native wildlife.

“We’d found a newsletter that council put out about them trying to increase the tree canopy to 20 per cent in all these other suburbs. I think every other one was mentioned except ours,” he said.

“The trees provide shade and store carbon, so removing more trees necessary didn’t make any sense.

“I think the people who manage the trees really wanted to enhance the environmental aspects, but I think it’s the bean counters who are afraid of what might happen in the future if they don’t try to at least do something.

“But it’s a good result in the end. The trees that we objected to being removed are now going to stay.”
The Whittlesea Review contacted council for comment but did not receive a response before yesterday’s print deadline.