‘No net gain’: council votes to keep Lords Place trees in concrete

Concrete garden bed

Concrete garden bed

A DECISION to remove the concrete beds around trees in Lords Place was overturned after councillors found it would cost $12,000 for no benefit.

Councillor Reg Kidd moved earlier in the month to remove the beds between Byng and Kite streets to boost the number of parking spaces and traffic safety.

But on Tuesday night, deputy mayor Jason Hamling and councillors Neil Jones and Ron Gander put forward a rescission motion.

Cr Jones said the earlier decision was made in haste during a long meeting and councillors ought to give the matter more consideration.

“Talking to staff and asking them to look at it, it shows there’s no net gain in parking spaces,” he said.

“We should be looking at a revision of parking in the whole CBD area and council car parks, but in this particular case, it wasn’t the right decision.”

A report from staff said roots needed to be protected 30 centimetres from the tree and replacing the beds with bollards would save up to 80 centimetres, but parking spaces needed to be at least 2.4 metres wide and even remarking the strips would not have an impact.

“We might be wrong about one spot, but I don’t think so,” community services director Scott Maunder told councillors.

Cr Kidd disputed the parking findings, saying he believed one to two more cars could fit in one location.

He defended the original plan, saying the trees suffered from collar rot due to the mulch around the base.

“They are a traffic hazard – when you’re reversing back, unless you have a camera, you can’t see them,” he said.

“I challenge anyone to say they can.

“If someone hits [a bollard], you can straighten them back up.”

However, councillor Russell Turner said they could only be straightened so many times before they snapped off.

“More and more people have cameras, it’s not the same as five years ago, and compaction won’t help the trees,” he said.

“As far as the collar rot, the trees are at risk of that and I would hope staff look at that and remove the excess.”

Councillor Chris Gryllis said he was happy to see the concrete stay provided rubbish was removed.

Ten councillors voted to rescind the motion, with Cr Kidd against and councillor Kevin Duffy did not vote.