A refreshed policy on the care of Launceston’s 30,000 council-managed trees has been approved by the City of Launceston Council.
Covering the management of trees on road reserves, in parks, facilities and civic spaces, the policy was updated for the first time since 2006 and was endorsed by all aldermen present at Monday’s meeting.
Alderman Janie Finlay said the policy could be dismissed as a low-level management decision, but in fact was highly important in preserving Launceston’s national reputation and public amenity.
“At a time where Launceston and the region has so much opportunity and so many strategies and projects that demonstrate an economic benefit and return to the city, and a lot of growth with that, we have to remember that nationally we’re recognised for the amenity of our city,” she said.
“We top number one in terms of a lot of scores in terms of what we have here in the way the city feels and the way people enjoy and experience the city.”
The new policy comprehensively covers management of street trees and trees in parks and facilities, and requires the use of an internationally-recognised tool to assess tree risks.
Every year an arborist will undertake a “formal, risk-based assessment” of all trees in high-risk public areas such as streets, playgrounds and car parks, and will also provide assessments for major events and following significant weather events.
The inspection regime will identify maintenance works and trees needing removal and replacing.
Issues such as trees affecting solar panels or private gardens, obscuring views or attracting wildlife that “causes nuisance” will not be accepted as reasons to prune council-owned trees.
Developers and residents who request a tree be pruned for developments, solar panel access or views may have to pay council to do so.
Ald Finlay said the ongoing process of developing the new management plan had been brought before council for discussion several times, showing the depth and importance of the policy.
“This report goes again to reinforce the important of the tree landscapes and tree assets we have in our community,” Ald Finlay said.
In 2012 the council developed the Launceston Street Tree Strategy to manage a strategic approach toward handling street trees, and scrapped a $190,000 plan to plant more trees along Wellington and Bathurst Streets.