You are here

100s of trees in Whitehorse face the axe despite agreement - please help

This bad news is from Whitehorse where some areas are famous for their bush areas and trees and now the government plans destroying a lot of it and people are angry - do add your voice in support. We are supposed to grow more trees not destroy them like vandals.

Dear Friends of the Trees in Whitehorse

The trees and vegetation along the railway corridor in Laburnum, Blackburn, Nunawading, Mitcham and Heatherdale are under dire threat due to the level crossing removals at Blackburn and Heatherdale Roads and the construction of the southern route for the shared use path from Middleborough Road to Heatherdale Road.

A total of 450 (out of 550 trees within the project works zone) will be lost in Blackburn and a further 200 of 250 trees in the Heatherdale area will be removed or are threatened with removal in the near future. Indeed many trees have already been removed.

The natural landscape of our suburbs is being destroyed arbitrarily by a consortium that views trees as mere impediments to their 'development at all costs' mentality.

The 80+% of trees slated for removal within the Blackburn level crossing removal project works area is an absolutely appalling figure.

As most Blackburn residents know the carnage has already started with the loss of many trees near Blackburn Station including beautiful 100+ year old Oak Trees and other trees of great historic value.

Even the trees that the tree society committee thought had been saved following six months of negotiations with the level crossing removal authority (LXRA) will now be removed. We had reached an agreement with the authority that 47 of the 63 Cypress Pines on council land in Morton Park could be saved however at a site meeting two days ago an authority spokesman stated that the trees will now have to be cut down. These historic trees are over 100 years old and need to be saved.

The spokesman gave dubious reasons for their removal - so much for negotiations 'in good faith'; the Blackburn and wider community has been treated cynically and very shabbily by the LXRA.

In addition it appears that all of the trees in the Blackburn Station Gardens will be removed except for the Palm Trees and two small trees near the rotunda - the Blackburn Village is being destroyed before our eyes!

Can you allow this to happen without putting up a fight?

There are a number of initiatives that you can be involved with to help mitigate this tree and vegetation vandalism by the LXRA:

1. Help establish a fighting fund to support an independent consulting arborist assessment and report on the trees as well as any legal and expert witness fees associated with an anticipated VCAT Hearing. You can do this by donating money to the Blackburn and District Environment Protection Fund targeted specifically to the 'Save the Trees' campaign. Please donate online at www.blackburnenviro.wordpress.com or send a cheque to the fund via PO Box 210, Blackburn, 3130. Your donation will be most welcome (and it's tax deductible).

2. Write and/or email to express your anger and concerns to local ALP upper house MP Shaun Leane at shaun.leane@parliament.vic.gov.au or PO Box 4307, Knox City Centre, Vic., 3152.

3. Write and/or email to express your anger and concerns to the Premier of Victoria, the Hon Daniel Andrews at daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au or 517A Princes Highway, Noble Park, Vic., 3174.

4. Write and/or email Whitehorse council stating how devastating this loss will be and urging council to become more active in the fight to save the trees - particularly those on council land and in private ownership. You can also advocate for council to fight for suitable replacement planting programs locally and fair financial compensation to council and local residents for any tree losses on their land.

Letters to council should be mailed to Jeff Green (General Manager City Development), cc'd to the CEO (Noelene Duff) and local Ward councillors Andrew Munroe and Denise Massoud ( for Blackburn) and councillors Philip Daw and Ben Stennett (for Mitcham and Heatherdale).

The Whitehorse Council mailing address is:

Whitehorse City Council

Locked Bag 2
Nunawading Delivery Centre VIC 3131.

Email addresses for council officers and councillors follow the same format as that for Jeff Green i.e. jeff.green[AT]whitehorse.vic.gov.au

5. Contact the Blackburn and/or Heatherdale Level Crossing Authorities to voice your concerns. The Blackburn Level Crossing Removal Authority contact is Kerilyn Wyatt at kerilyn.wyatt@cpbcon.com.au or telephone 1800 762 667.

The Heatherdale Level Crossing Authority email address is contact@levelcrossings.vic.gov.au or telephone 1800 762 667.

6. Also write a letter or email the Whitehorse Leader on this issue (feel free to use the information provided above in your correspondence). The contact journalist is Paddy Naughton at patrick.naughtin@news.com.au

7. Contact 'The Age' and/or 'Herald-Sun' newspapers via the Letters to the Editor section or through their Urban Affairs/Environment journalists.

8. The tree society will probably be organising a Public Rally in Morton Park and/ or the Blackburn Station Gardens in the near future to show our support for the trees and our local natural landscape. If you want to help organise or participate in this rally please contact me by return email or phone 0413 457 184.

Please forward this information through your networks and send your emails and letters of protest asap as suggested.

We need to show the Level Crossing Removal Authorities and the ALP politicians that we have the weight of numbers on our side.

Thank you in anticipation.

Regards

David Berry

President

For the Blackburn and District Tree Preservation Society Inc. committee

0413 457 184

AttachmentSize
Image icon death-and-the-tree.jpg54.88 KB
Image icon death-and-the-tree-tiny.jpg6.97 KB

Comments

I will state the obvious in case anyone missed it that this wholesale tree removal is directly a result of population growth. More people using trains and roads means more delay for more people at level crossings. Solution - infrastructure "improvements" which cannot be achieved without loss of things we love , like trees and open space or peace and quiet. It may not be that this particular project is being done in the best "tree-sparing" manner and that would not surprise me but it is clear to me that we cannot have ever increasing population and commensurate infrastructure upgrading without loss of amenity in some way. I would love to know if anyone actually has a solution apart from the one I favour which is to slow population growth right down with a cut in our ridiculously high immigration levels.