Coun­cil to meet with tree ob­jec­tors

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

A Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil de­ci­sion to plant non-na­tive trees along Jer­ilderie St in Ber­ri­gan has gone against the wishes of the com­mu­nity, ac­cord­ing to Ber­ri­gan Tidy Towns pres­i­dent Mark Ryan.

Mr Ryan said Ber­ri­gan Tidy Towns mem­bers were frus­trated to learn the pep­per­corn trees would be re­placed by Chi­nese pis­ta­chio trees, de­spite be­ing voted against in favour of Aus­tralian na­tives.

‘‘Our con­tention is that Ber­ri­gan has a mag­nif­i­cent fa­cil­ity at the Tank Pad­dock and has re­ceived great ac­co­lades for that site, and we would like to see the Ber­ri­gan town fol­low a na­tive tree plant­ing regime with any new trees that are planted,’’ Mr Ryan said.

‘‘There’s a huge va­ri­ety we could se­lect from that would be very nice for the town.

‘‘They would be na­tive, re­quire very lit­tle wa­ter and wouldn't be de­cid­u­ous trees.’’

Mr Ryan said there was a need for more in­di­vid­ual con­sul­ta­tion on the tree plant­ing pro­pos­als, sep­a­rate to the town en­try con­cept adopted by coun­cil more than five years ago.

‘‘The whole tree is­sue was tied in with the Ber­ri­gan con­cept plan that was put for­ward to the com­mu­nity,’’ Mr Ryan said.

‘‘At the time we were told not to worry about the trees, as it was too early in the plan­ning and it would be dealt with later.

‘‘They (coun­cil) em­ployed an ar­borist from Wood­end to as­sess the pep­per­corns who de­clared the trees un­safe, which is to­tally wrong.

‘‘My un­der­stand­ing is the pep­per­corn trees were planted about 100 years ago and they grew thanks to a lady who would wa­ter them, so a few peo­ple are an­noyed the her­itage as­pect has been ig­nored.’’

Co­in­cid­ing with road­works, one stand of pep­per­corns was re­moved to make way for new gut­ter­ing in Jer­ilderie St.

‘‘We reached a com­pro­mise to prune them to get road­works done, but that we don’t want the trees on the west­ern side re­moved while the east­ern side is be­ing planted,’’ Mr Ryan said.

‘‘They (coun­cil) came back too quickly and gave us three se­lec­tions of trees, one of which we told the shire wouldn't work so they did a poll of res­i­dents.

‘‘With no fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion with Tidy Towns, coun­cil polled the res­i­dents with two trees that aren’t na­tive to the area and my un­der­stand­ing is there were 75 re­sponses.’’

Ber­ri­gan Shire Mayor Matt Han­nan said coun­cil will meet with mem­bers of Ber­ri­gan Tidy Towns to­day to ex­plain their de­ci­sion.

‘‘Peo­ple can be quite emo­tional when it comes to tree plant­ing,’’ Cr Han­nan said.

‘‘Some peo­ple would like na­tive trees and oth­ers want non-na­tive trees. As a coun­cil we elected to take the rec­om­men­da­tions from our staff, who en­gaged with com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion and spoke with ex­perts about the best so­lu­tion mov­ing for­ward.

‘‘We’re an open coun­cil and are happy to speak with Tidy Towns about their feel­ings on the mat­ter.’’

Cr Han­nan said coun­cil felt new trees would be nec­es­sary given the ar­borist’s re­port in­di­cated the town’s pep­per­corn trees might die within the next 10 years.

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