Bathurst land subdivision: Residents' fight to save trees

THE fight to save a stand of pine trees earmarked for removal has heated up with a petition now presented to Bathurst Regional Council.

The trees are located on a site north-east of the city that is under consideration for a 153-lot housing subdivision.

A development application (DA) shows the subdivision would be of the former Sunnybright Orchard site, between Marsden Lane and Limekilns Road.

An arborist’s report, submitted to council as part of the DA, recommends knocking down all existing trees on the 36 hectare site, and states around 20 of the trees are showing signs of drought stress.

McBrien Drive resident John Eccles said a group of concerned residents attended a recent council meeting to ask for the trees to be saved.

“[We] presented a petition of 176 signatures from local residents, who oppose the chopping down of the pine trees adjacent to McBrien Drive,” he said.

“A short address was given at question time by one of the residents, outlining the reason for the petition.

“Residents who object to the removal of the trees, have requested council to redesign the subdivision, to enable most of the trees to be saved.”

Mr Eccles said written objections have been forwarded to council on behalf of residents affected.

Another McBrien Drive resident, Jim Hallahan, said some trees should be removed.

This Google satellite image shows the stand of pine trees running behind McBrien Drive at Kelso.

“There’s quite a few trees there that have reached there used by date that should come out, there’s a lot of other trees that still have some life in them,” he said.

Mr Hallahan said the area has long been known as Pine View and with recent expansion through the area there was a lack of mature trees left.

He acknowledged new subdivisions must be created for Bathurst’s expansion, but said keeping the pine trees would give some privacy for existing residents and improve the aesthetics.

The DA has been submitted by council, but will be approved by the Western Joint Regional Planning Panel (WJRPP).

Council is currently preparing an assessment report which will then be provided to the WJRPP.

The WJRPP will review the report and hold a public meeting to allow for community input before making a decision on its approval.

The planning panel meeting will be held in Bathurst and will occur within 14 days of receiving council’s assessment report.

The pine trees were originally planted as a windbreak to protect the orchard but now provide a home to native animal and birdlife.

The Sunnybright Orchard subdivision is stage one of a project that will eventually see more than 200 new housing lots ranging in size from 550-1300 square metres.