Construction ongoing in the Jamison Plaza carpark.

DESPITE Jamison Plaza permanently losing two car parks for a new tree-growing trial, the Belconnen Community Council (BCC) is welcoming the $1.159 million project, which they hope will give some "much-needed amenity" to the area.

Over the last two months about 120 car parks at the popular Macquarie shopping centre have been closed to the public in stages while the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate has constructed the new trial tree pits that are expected to be completed by the end of July, weather permitting.

The ACT government hopes that the “water-sensitive” design works will grow trees that provide better shade after previous attempts have resulted in trees growing undersized and unhealthy.

"In summer it's baking hot as soon as you walk out of the [Jamison] centre and because there’s nothing to break the wind up in winter it can be bitterly cold," says BCC chairperson Glen Hyde.

“We’re completely supportive of greening up our neighbourhood shopping centres and making sure they have good coverage."

But in light of the loss of car parks, Mr Hyde would like the government to continue to consider traffic and parking implications around the centre.

“Get the tree trial done but it would be good to see study put together for traffic management issues and an assessment of the quality of car parking for the future," he says.

What the trees are expected to look like. Photo: ACT government.

According to an ACT government spokesperson, the trial trees are expected to grow 13 metres high with a 10 metre spread and reach a mature size in 20 to 25 years.

In addition to the trial trees, 15 will also be planted according to the traditional method and have their growth measured as a point of comparison.

“The construction methodology being trialled through this project has the potential to re-shape how future tree planting is undertaken for a range of sites in greenfields and urban infill locations across Canberra including hostile planting areas like car parks,” said the spokesperson.

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