The decision comes despite local government insistence many of the trees are “ecologically and culturally significant”.
Planning Minister John Rau agreed with his agency’s assessment that the removal of 63 regulated trees and 23 significant trees, and the further pruning of 15 more trees in the area, was “reasonable” to enable the widening and upgrade of the road network “in the context of the expected future growth for transportation on a major route for north and south-bound traffic”.
A regulated tree is defined as one with a trunk circumference of two metres or more, while a significant tree has a trunk circumference above three metres.
The trees affected are based in Clovelly Park and Bedford Park, and will allow for the “upgrade and widening of a 2.3 km section of Main South Road” between the expressway and Ayliffes Road at Darlington.
The move had been opposed by both Mitcham and Marion councils, with the latter noting “the trees form a notable visual element to the landscape”.
But in a decision tabled in parliament yesterday, the minister decided “there is a clear overriding strategic objective in the improvement of traffic flow and reduction in congestion, with consequential environmental and economic benefits which accrue from the maintenance of an efficient transport network”.
“On balance … the pruning and removal of the trees facilitates necessary road infrastructure which supports the arterial road network for the state and accordingly warrants support,” Rau determined.
A Marion spokesman told InDaily the council was “disappointed the State Government has ignored our repeated calls to spare many of these trees”.
“We accept some trees directly in the path of the Darlington road upgrade may need to go but the potential scale and the loss of so many significant trees will concern our community,” the spokesman said in a statement.
“Many of the trees earmarked for removal are not in the direct line of infrastructure work and are of ecological and cultural significance.”
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