Central Coast councillors will vote at their meeting on July 13 on a motion from Councillor Louise Greenaway to abolish a suggested $250 fee for nominating a tree for inclusion on Council’s Significant Tree register.
The fee was one of the charges set for the 2020-2021 financial year and adopted by councillors at a special meeting on June 29, but it raised a red flag with Cr Greenaway, who voted against the fees and charges policy.
It is understood that at the time the former Gosford and Wyong councils merged, Gosford had a Significant Tree Register, while Wyong did not.
Registering a tree with the former Gosford Council was free.
Cr Greenaway said the council had resolved in August 2019 to expand the Significant Tree Register into the former Wyong area and to minimise the cost to ratepayers.
Her motion also calls for the CEO to investigate opportunities for incorporating the Significant Tree Register in Council’s Local Planning Instruments with the specific intention of providing long term protection to the trees listed on the register.
Environmentalist Joy Cooper, who will speak in favour of Cr Greenaway’s motion in the public forum prior to Monday night’s meeting, said the $250 fee was “a terrible idea”.
“Who do they think will play to have a tree included on the register?” she said.
“It has always been free in the past.
“We should be capitalising on the magnificent trees we have around the Coast.
“We could have brochures in out tourist centres, or even a phone app, listing all the trees on the register and guiding users on where to find them.
“People come to the Coast because of the natural beauty of the area.
“And in a survey done on Council’s own Local Strategic Planning Statement, 85 per cent of respondents said the environment was an important factor.”
Agenda item 6.3
Central Coast Council meeting, July 13