Poplar trees on Gormans Hill Road set to be removed

SAVE THE TREES: Gormans Hill resident Michelle Horwood has started a petition to stop the removal of poplar trees on Gormans Hill road. Photo: RACHEL CHAMBERLAIN 071218rctree1
SAVE THE TREES: Gormans Hill resident Michelle Horwood has started a petition to stop the removal of poplar trees on Gormans Hill road. Photo: RACHEL CHAMBERLAIN 071218rctree1

A GORMANS Hill resident has collected signatures on a petition in the hopes it can delay the removal of trees near MacKillop College. 

Bathurst Regional Council has confirmed that 19 trees poplar trees on Gormans Hill Road will be removed during the school holidays.

“Concerns were raised by the school in relation to the street trees located adjacent to the school,” mayor Graeme Hanger said.

“Specifically, the concerns relate to the safety of the trees, their general health and the damage that the root systems are causing to the kerb and guttering, drainage, road surface, sewer systems and general building cracking.”

He said a qualified arborist had been engaged and it was determined that the trees were in poor condition and it would be “impossible or impractical to control the root system”.

Michelle Horwood, who has lived in the area for six years, said the trees are an important part of the landscape of Gormans Hill Road. 

She said the idea of those trees no longer being there is “horrific”.

“They are a haven for wildlife and they have significant value in the area, historical value,” Ms Horwood said. 

After receiving a letter notifying residents that the trees would be removed, Ms Horwood decided to start a petition, which has more than 50 signatures already. 

She also spoke to councillor John Fry, hoping he would be able to convince council to delay the process so an independent arborist could be engaged. 

“It would just be such a tragedy [to lose the trees]. The area would not be the same,” Ms Horwood said.

“We just want to try and get something done before it is too late because they are beautiful trees.”

She said the petition may not be enough to save the trees, but she wanted to at least try instead of sitting back and doing nothing. 

In speaking to the Western Advocate, Cr Fry said he has tried to speak to council but it looks like there is nothing that can been done, as the decision was made nearly 12 months ago, prior to his election. 

He said if he had enough support from other councillors he would be stopping it from happening, as he personally feels that, unless there is a genuine safety concern, the poplars shouldn’t be removed.

“I’m saying those reasons aren’t good enough. I think we need better reasons than that,” Cr Fry said. 

He feels a second independent arborist should inspect the trees and “look at more innovative ways of saving them”. 

Although it appears the removal will go ahead next week, Cr Hanger did say that the trees would be replaced.

“The works will include replanting of replacement trees to be planted back along the verge, utilising appropriate tree species suitable for the existing site conditions of the area,” he said.

Ms Horwood said council could “plant 1000 new trees along there, it will not be the same”.