Drastic Robe greenery slash

TREE REMOVAL: Robe District Council chief executive officer James Holyman stands on Victoria Street, where seven various long-standing trees were recently removed after being declared a community safety hazard. Picture: MOLLY TAYLOR

By Molly Taylor

ROBE’S city business district has been temporarily stripped bare of greenery with several ageing trees uprooted from pavement after being declared hazardous to the public.

Late last month, seven various long-standing trees were removed from the seaside town’s main street by council as part of an urgent works project costing almost $8000.

A traffic management report completed by Tonkin discovered a traffic line of sight issue which began investigation into the stability of tree structure across Robe.

Robe District Council chief executive officer James Holyman said investigations revealed trees had begun visibly moving, borer was present and many were posing damaging threats to heritage-listed buildings.

“From a community and safety perspective, I think we have done the right thing and we have had a lot of positive feedback about the street feeling more open,” he said.

“We did not want to take them out, but we had a couple which were leaning back towards buildings which looked like they were only being held up by the road and curb.

“We also had some which had some significant tree borer, so the decision came down to the safety of the community and protection of the private assets … We would not have done it otherwise.”

Mr Holyman said it was always sad to remove historical green life, but he believed people needed to begin developing a mindset around green assets having a set lifespan.

“Trees have a life expectancy and unless you do certain things when installing them, which did not happen in this case, Gum Trees are also not really street trees,” he said.

“We are going to work with the community to chose some appropriate trees to replace what was taken out.

“It might take some time as even though the curb has been ground down, there could still roots and base of the trees and ground needs to settle.

“We do not want to put something in there and it sinks or inappropriately grows.”

The expected timeframe for new greenlife installation is expected to be around six to 12 months.

“There are a lot of considerations as we evaluate our options, but we want to put something in there which is appropriate,” Mr Holyman said.

“We have to take into account the coastal conditions we have here, particularly the westerly winds in winter which go straight down that street.”

Mr Holyman said although significant green life had been removed from Robe, extensive replanting had already began in other surrounding areas.

“During this year’s business planning, council allocated $4000 towards greenery in Robe, so there is intention over time to do more,” he said.

“We bought 2000 plants which were installed in at Fox and Hooper beaches and we had re-seeded three other city areas.

“Even though these trees were removed, we are replanting in other areas.”