More than three weeks after first hitting the sidewalk outside the Bathurst Regional Council chambers, local resident Cathie Hale is continuing her push for a rethink of Bathurst's tree protection policy.
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Spending two hours a day outside the council chambers, only pausing for inclement weather, Ms Hale has built a steady following for her campaign to ensure mature-aged trees get a fairer go in the community.
Ms Hale's campaign started after five 100-year-old oaks were lost to development in Bant Street late last month.
"I've had a lot of people stop and sign the book, and it turns out many have stories of trees they've loved and lost," she said.
"After consultation with a host of local organisations, including Bathurst Heritage Matters, National Trust, Greening Bathurst and Bathurst Community Climate Action Network [BCCAN], we've managed to secure an audience with council next week to discuss tree protection."
Ms Hale will meet with representatives from council's engineering and environmental, planning and building departments alongside former councillor John Fry and Dr Jim Blackwood.
With council recently resolving to accept the "extreme risk climate change presents to the economic, ecological and social futures of our region", Ms Hale is hopeful this position will further encourage a rethink on trees.
"Trees are an ideal way to future-proof our city from climate change, and while the planting of new saplings in new development areas is welcome, we need to protect existing mature trees," she said.
"In this climate, it takes 40 to 50 years for saplings to grow into mature trees so residents can reap their environmental benefits."
Ms Hale said the benefits of mature trees include more shade, habitat for a number of species and street cooling.
"During lockdown, everyone realised the importance of greenery, as nature is an important component in human wellbeing," she said.
"I had one fellow come past in a wheelchair who said there's no trees around his home, and finds the pavement unbearable in summer with the lack of shade.
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"We need trees to cool the CBD, and now that council has acknowledged the threat of climate change, it's time to address the issue full-on. It's not just a 'greenie' issue, it's everyone's issue, and the result of the recent federal election proved this."
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