Letter / Shame of our underfunded urban forest

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THE Minister, Simon Corbell, has announced that the Gungahlin-to-city light-rail corridor will get an extra 1000 trees as part of the Capital Metro Stage One.

quillHe said that despite 860 trees being removed, 1800 would be planted in their place.

Is this a further justification for the light rail project, by implication that if the light rail does not go ahead the extra 1000 trees would not be planted?

With so many trees reaching the end of their healthy life, especially the eucalypts, this is evidently part of the spurious reason for removing all the trees in Northbourne Avenue.

It is incumbent of the government to look after and respect our existing assets. Unfortunately, this is tied in with insufficient government funding to look after our urban forest.

While older trees are more costly to prune and maintain, according to the “Urban Trees Asset Management Strategy 2005-2022” prepared by TAMS: “Current ACT funding is only sufficient to respond to maintenance requests from the public and does not provide for systematic inspections and maintenance of trees”.

Our trees are our most valuable asset. An ANU study in 2005 calculated the amenity value of Canberra’s street and park trees to have a value in excess of $1.1 billion. It would be criminal to reduce this most valuable asset of the 860 trees, but we do desperately need those 1000 extra trees.

Cedric Bryant, horticultural consultant, Watson

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr Bryant is our gardening columnist.

His views are not necessarily those of “CityNews”)

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