The excessive tree lopping of many Randwick’s street trees by Ausgrid contractors has angered Randwick Councillors to the point of considering legal action to recover costs from the NSW Government
Greens Councillor Murray Matson moved an urgency motion at last Tuesday’s Council meeting seeking legal advice as to how such action could be pursued.
All Randwick’s street trees have a calculable financial value that in many cases will have been depreciated by the onslaught that occurred a few weeks ago.
Councillor Matson said,
“Randwick Council routinely assigns a financial value to various street trees by the use of a formula incorporating factors such as age and spread. So we can easily determine the degree of financial damage that has been done to the community’s flora assets by these out of control contractors.”
“The question is can we legally recover this damage figure from the Government if some of our street trees are going to die or deteriorate in value as a result of the Ausgrid contractor’s ineptitude?”
The degree of damage could be substantial. In an unrelated matter the Council recently applied the “Australian Standard ASDR99307” formula to place a combined value of $36,000 on three Hills Weeping Figs in Eastern Avenue, Kensington.
The resolution to the Greens urgency motion also endorses the erection of signs at specific damaged trees to shame Ausgrid. Councillor and Greens candidate for Coogee Lindsay Shurey, stated,
“I don’t see why a state entity like Ausgrid should be exempt from the rightful public scorn over what its contractors have done to some very well loved trees along our streets. The signs will have an Ausgrid phone number and I would urge residents to use it to make individual complaints.”
Greens candidate for Maroubra James Cruz supports the Council move by the Randwick Green Councillors.
“The Institute for Sustainable Futures only recently ranked our area as one of the worst for tree canopy coverage in NSW.
We desperately need to protect the trees we have.
We simply won’t accept state-sanctioned contractors coming in and butchering them with no oversight or accountability.”
RESOLUTION TO COUNCILLOR MATSON’S SUCCESSFUL URGENCY MOTION:
- the General Manager obtain legal advice on the option of recovering, from the relevant authority, the loss to the Council assets of excessively trimmed and lopped trees by contractors in recent weeks.
- the General Manager advises on positions that Council can take to lobby the Government for increased auditing and policing of the conduct of these contractors.
- Council use publicity to ask our residents to contact the Council with photos of the trees that they consider to have been mutilated.
- a selected number of trees be tagged with adequate signage drawing attention to the issue and including a contact number for Ausgrid.