Orphanage Park Creek Lay Back
|5 February 2010
No more than 10 trees have to be removed.
Attempts to misrepresent Unley Council's plans for the proposed $1.2 million redevelopment of Orphanage Park have brought a firm response from Unley Mayor Richard Thorne.
"People are continuing to say, and the media as a result continues to wrongly report, that Unley Council plans to remove 30 trees as part of the development," Mr Thorne said. "However, only 10 trees are proposed for removal, three of which are considered significant.
"Of these, two are dead and the other is a peppercorn that has an unstable root system and decay in the lower branches, making it potentially a risk to public safety.This is a much loved tree but unsound, so the risk of serious mishap whilst children are playing in or under its branches is a matter of serious concern to Council."
Mr Thorne said a Council project news update last November, which had been widely distributed in Unley, clearly stated 10 trees had been identified for removal to enable the proposed creek layback.
It also said more than 100 new trees and 11,000 new plants would be planted, the creek layback would be reduced to 45m and that the proposed removal of the three significant trees was subject to determination by Unley's Development Assessment Panel.
Mr Thorne said the facts and history of the project are as follows:
In April 2009 Council approved the final Concept Plan (including creek layback) after two years of exhaustive and extensive consultation. This included changes made following feedback from present and future park users to create "a park for the enjoyment and benefit of the people".
The plan for the $1.2m development passed through a number of Council committee meetings and finally went to Council in April 2009 for approval to implement all three stages, including a high priority for Stage 3. This involved laying back a portion of the creek bank, which required some tree removal along with substantial revegetating and tree planting, to improve safety and access for park users.
The original proposal to lay back 212m of creek bank and remove 30 trees was modified to only 45m and the removal of 10 trees.
The creek layback is required to provide improved access to a small section of the creek from a large grassed area that can be used by families to gather and picnic.
An important benefit will be increased safety for all users, in particular children playing near the creek, with shallower banks, improved sightlines and easier egress.
In December 2009 Council sought community feedback on the revised design proposal to reduce the creek layback to 45m layback, with the consequent removal of 10 - not 30 trees - of which only three were significant.
A well advertised on-site consultation with residents was held on December 1 and 2, with Council staff present to explain the revised creek design. Feedback forms were provided, as well as being available on Council's website, for return by December 18. More than 90 responses were received which are still being evaluated.
Over the last three years Unley Council has maintained a very open and transparent planning and communication process with the community over the Orphanage Park proposal, from the initial concept plan, the revised plan to the final concept plan approved by Council in April 2009.
The Orphanage Park redevelopment, which will provide a much improved public resource, is nearing completion thanks to State grant funding of $500,000 which has enabled Council to implement all three stages.
Richard Thorne, Mayor, City of Unley, tel. 0412 710011
Michelle Bonnici, General Manager City Services, City of Unley, tel. 8372 5119