LOCALS fearing a historic corridor of trees to be torn down at Charles Sturt University (CSU) South Campus have had their dread fertilised.
Nine iconic gum trees will be removed down a stretch of College Avenue on Monday, with nearby residents advised there would be future tree removal on the southern side of campus.
While Turvey Park residents fear removing some of the 145 trees lining Fernleigh Road, Hely Avenue, Charleville Road and College Avenue will impact bird life, beautification and salinity mitigation under plans to sell a section of the site to developers, CSU has confirmed contracting an arborist to inspect the trees was routine and independent of redevelopment.
Bianca Ellis, the woman leading the fight on behalf of about 40 residents, believes if the trees’ removal is imminent because of disease or drought, they should be replaced “to maintain the area for bird life, provide for carbon recapture and help maintain salinity control in the area”.
“About forty new trees are now marked with pink crosses which we can only presume means removal in the future," Mrs Ellis said.
CSU facilities management division executive director Stephen Butt ruled out intentions to remove all trees, but confirmed they were in the process of submitting another development application to council for additional trees to be removed in the coming week.
Mr Butt said the 40 trees with pink crosses on them could possibly be removed, prompting fears more DAs will be lodged until all trees are gone.
“It’s not as if we’re out to take down all the trees,” Mr Butt said. “We understand community concerns … we’re just following a due, standard process.”
Mr Butt said CSU recognised the significance and value of the trees to both nearby residents and future developers.
“There’s a significant number of quality trees that add value in an urban landscape,” he said.
“We’d be looking to retain those trees wherever possible."
Mr Butt said the trees earmarked for removal were deemed unsafe by a CSU-contracted arborist.
Wagga City councillor Kevin Poynter demanded more clarity and consultation with nearby residents.
“Every time we look to lose a tree, the community is really concerned about it," he said.
“The retention of trees in our community is a priority.”
For more information, visit the Turvey Tree Tops Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TurveyTreeTops?fref=ts