Group calls for resident feedback on tree policy

GUST members Ms Melissa Chandler, Ms Debbie Sunartha and Ms Jan WilderGUST members Ms Melissa Chandler, Ms Debbie Sunartha and Ms Jan Wilder.

Umina’s street tree group, Grow Urban Shade Trees, is calling on Peninsula residents to provide feedback on the council’s draft tree policy which is currently on exhibition.

Group member Ms Debbie Sunartha said the group had found an increasing demand for urban shade tree planting and education. “Our volunteers are working overtime to meet the community’s growing demand.” However, she said council policies were exacerbating the situation. “As Council as rolls out large projects, our group has observed that mature trees that once shaded our walk home or kept the car cool in summer are being removed at an extremely fast rate,” she said.

“Tree advocates across the Central Coast feel that policy is urgently needed to support developers, both residential and commercial, to understand that trees are an asset which adds value to properties and to make all efforts to retain and/or replace them,” Ms Sunartha said. Ms Sunartha quoted a public statement by mayor Cr Jane Smith that “maintaining our natural assets is a critical component of what we value as a community”. “Jane Smith is asking residents to plant a tree, but what we have discovered is that with minimal resources allocated to trees, residents are unsure of what and where to plant,” Ms Sunartha said.

Ms Sunartha said Grow Urban Shade Trees aimed to help the Peninsula community select and plant new shade trees. “The group is spreading the word on the value of trees for cooler streetscapes, added beauty, wildlife habitat, clean air, energy savings and water storage,” she said. She encouraged Peninsula residents to view the tree policy and provide feedback to address the increasing heat-bowl effect in our suburbs. Council’s tree policy is available on the Your Voice Our Coast website.

SOURCE: Media release, 12 Nov 2018 Debbie Sunartha, GUST