Safety concerns prompt removal of invasive trees
Southern Downs Regional Council plans to undertake the removal of at least 4 of its London Plane Trees following the discovery of significant ongoing damage being caused by the roots to public infrastructure.
Recent works to construct new tree surrounds around four existing trees in Grafton Street were required as the roots had lifted the surrounding pavement, kerb and footpath, creating trip hazards to pedestrians.
These works revealed that the root barriers previously installed had not contained the roots and that significant damage was also occurring to the underground pipe infrastructure.
Michael Bell, Acting Director Engineering Services said that the size and density of the surface roots is very concerning as the risk of damage to adjacent infrastructure both private and public, is greater than initially thought.
“We are now aware that London Plane trees have an invasive root system and the concern is that the size of the tree makes it unsuitable for a CBD area where the trees are in very close proximity to buildings and infrastructure.
“Given the significant damage being caused, despite previous remedial work, as well as the ongoing risk to public safety, we feel there is no option but to remove the trees,” Mr Bell said.
Mr Bell advised that with the trees currently exposed it is the most opportune time to remove them as the resources are already in place.
He noted that there are 24 London Plan Trees in the Warwick CBD area which may all potentially cause these problems. While there are four trees proposed to be treated in this financial year there are an additional five trees that require treatment in the short term with the remaining likely to require a similar treatment in the future.
"Council’s initial project plan was to salvage these trees but we now need to move quickly to remove them and ensure that no further risk is posed to the community.
“It is unfortunate that these trees have to be removed, but public safety has to come first,” advised Mr Bell.
Mr Bell said that it was Council’s intention to replace the trees and that consultation for a suitable replacement would be undertaken going forward. However costings for replacement works will have to be considered as part of the 2017/2018 budget deliberations.
Traffic control measures will be in place during the above works and residents are asked to obey all temporary traffic signage during the works periods. All works are subject to weather conditions and change without notice.
Council apologises for any disturbance or disruption these works may cause.
For more information or if you have any concerns regarding these works please contact Eric Kraak, Manager Works Construction on 1300 MY SDRC (1300 697 372).
Council's Technical Officer Assets, Belinda Watts, shows size of exposed roots
Tree roots in pipes Blockage caused by debris build up around roots in pipes