LOCAL environmentalists object to the “indiscriminate clearing” of mature eucalypts in Orange and have asked Orange City Council to intervene.
Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange (ECCO) member Peter West said in the last two weeks two mature eucalypts had been felled at the former drive-in site, where a private hospital will be built.
“The two large eucalypts that were removed were the last two trees on the site and both were located on the boundary fence, so they were highly unlikely to impact on the footprint of future planned development,” he said.
“The value that these trees offered to the future development in terms of visual amenity and summer shade was somehow overlooked.”
Mr West said ECCO estimated the trees were between 200 and 250 years old, making them of significant natural heritage to south Orange and Bloomfield.
He said ECCO was especially concerned about the impact of removing these two trees on the threatened superb parrot, which is known to nest in th area.
“The trees were ideal habitat for this species,” Mr West said.
“We are questioning the need for their removal and how approval was granted to remove those remnant habitat trees.
“If either of these healthy trees had been deemed unsafe, then they could have easily been trimmed or fenced off to retain their visual amenity to the landscape and offering habitat for Orange’s wonderful bird life.
“Planners and developers are more than capable of incorporating natural features into the design of developments, but seem to make too many of these decisions without leaving the office or consulting the community.”
Environment and economic development policy committee chair Neil Jones said in the future council should ensure significant remnant native vegetation was protected when development applications were assessed.
Council spokesman Allan Reeder confirmed council had received a complaint that a large gum tree near the former drive-in site had been cut down.
“Council staff are currently investigating whether the removal of the tree was permitted under development approvals for the project,” he said.
“Council staff have also approached the planning consultant for the developers, who are investigating whether the removal of the tree complies with planning approvals for the project.”