Planning application at 14 - 16 Cungena Av Park Holme
May 15, 2017, 3:21 a.m.
To: Development Assessment Officer regarding application ref. 100/789/2017 Application to remove Significant Tree on the boundary of 14/12 Cungena Ave, Park Holme. I live at 1/18 Cungena Avenue, Park Holme and vehemently oppose the application to remove the large gum tree which sits on the boundary of Number 14 and number 12 Cungena Avenue. I am aware that the owner of number 12 also wishes the tree to be maintained and it sits partly on his land. It is a significant tree legally. It is also significant to a large amount of native wildlife, particularly birds which are losing their habitat in this suburb at an alarming rate. It is one of only two substantial sized trees remaining on the block (around thirty original house blocks), and most of the other blocks in the suburb have only one or two remaining larger trees as well. This means that bird life suffers significantly, with fewer places in which to nest, breed, feed and roost. When the distance between trees is increased birds have more difficulty establishing territory and ultimately populations decrease. Also trees provide shade and contribute to moderating temperature in suburbs which are increasingly paved to the extent that water cannot be absorbed into the ground and storm water run-off is increased significantly. On the morning of April 20th 2017 I spoke with the arborists who were assessing this tree and they said, “The tree is very healthy.” (Around 10 years ago I made inquiries about why so many significant trees were being cut down in our suburb and was told that they were all diseased. I simply do not believe that was the case then and I have it straight from the arborist’s mouth on this occasion that the tree is healthy.)
I regularly hear a Boobook Owl calling from it during the night. In fact I recorded the sound this past Saturday morning at 6.30am to verify the fact. There are not many trees left in this neighbourhood which could be home to owls, as they need tree hollows to breed. There are no doubt other species which nest in this tree such as lorikeets and magpies. I'm also aware of possums which live there. Possums are also dependent on tree hollows. The resident possums would likely be killed in the process of tree removal (or even significant trimming of the tree) and if they did escape they would have nowhere to go.
I note with interest that council email signature recognises the Kaurna people as the ongoing custodians of the land. I'm sure the Kaurna people would be horrified by the extent of local development and would want this tree to stay and to continue sustaining wildlife on this block.
It is very sad that decisions are too often made on a short term economic basis. The developer who purchased the land would have known that the tree was significant. The regulations surrounding significant trees state that they can be trimmed or removed if they pose a threat to existing buildings but does not allow for people to purchase the land without a building being under threat and then propose to build and cut the tree down as part of the development plan. I had hoped that the developer would understand that the tree is an asset to his property, with the amenity and shade that it will provide but sadly that is apparently not the case. I have been a rate payer in Marion Council for over 20 years. I have been a volunteer removing graffiti in my suburb for over 10 years and I regularly pick up rubbish from my street because I wish to preserve the amenity of the area in which I choose to live. I firmly believe that development should not proceed at the expense of the amenity to existing residents. Marion council’s “desired character” for the area is “medium density” and that isn’t unreasonable in itself, but it becomes unreasonable when the result is the removal of the majority of trees in a suburb. Park Holme is sadly a very different place to what it was when I bought here 22 years ago. I don’t object to new buildings except where they adversely affect the existing residents and the health of the environment in which we live. I've seen too many trees disappear from the immediate area already and would not want to see this one go because I remained silent. Thank you for your consideration of my comments.
From Helen Whitford to local councillor Jason Veliskou