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Blue Gum removal to commence 24 June

13 June 2019

The Large Blue Gum on Lonsdale Street will be removed in the week commencing Monday 24 June.

Council resolved to remove the Blue Gum on Lonsdale Street after receiving a report from arborists Homewood Consulting as part of a CBD-wide tree assessment. The report identified the tree had serious structural issues with a significant hollow observed in the trunk and posed a high risk to the public.

The Remedial Action Plan adopted by Council for the management of trees in the Hamilton CBD recommended that urgent works be undertaken to remove the Blue Gum and propagate a replacement tree from the existing tree’s seed.

Councillor Mayor Mary-Ann Brown said while it was a tough decision, removal of the tree is necessary.

“We absolutely understand resident disappointment in the tree’s removal but Council has to make decisions in the best interest of community safety. Removing such a large, historically significant tree is not something we have decided upon without serious deliberation and wide consultation. Unfortunately, the reality is that this tree, like all other living things, has a limited lifespan. Its structural integrity has become compromised and it is hazardous,” Cr Brown said.

“The location of the Blue Gum, on a busy intersection with high traffic and pedestrian use greatly increases the risk of an incident occurring should the tree fail. Sadly, it presents unacceptable risk to our community which cannot be managed in any other reasonable way.”

Work will commence on the removal of the tree on Monday 24 June and is expected to take approximately three days, weather permitting. Given the complexity of the removal process, a number of safety measures will be in place:

  • Lonsdale Street, between Thompson and Kennedy Street, will be closed for one to two days while the work takes place on that side of the tree. Motorists will be required to take an alternative route and traffic management will be in place.
  • The Hamilton Visitor Information Centre (VIC) will be closed throughout the works. A temporary VIC will be established in the Hamilton Performing Arts Centre foyer from 10am – 5pm.
  • A large exclusion zone will be in place around the area with pedestrians asked to avoid the area where possible.

Seed will be collected from the tree and propagated for a replacement planting in the future at an alternative site. Timber taken from the tree will be removed from the site and assessed for suitable re-use. Further information will be provided once this process is complete about how interested groups may be able to access any suitable timber.

Council wishes to acknowledge the Blue’ Gum’s recent addition to the National Trust Register of Significant Trees, however, as stated in its letter to council, the National Trust is not a statutory body and has no legal powers. The inclusion of trees on the Trust’s Register therefore imposes no legal restrictions or obligations on the owners or responsible authorities, nor provides trees with statutory protection. Inclusion on the register is by a process of nomination by local individuals and no physical assessment of the tree is involved in the approval process.

In Victoria, it is the Planning Scheme Overlay that identifies places or things of significance within a local municipality. These are managed through the local Planning Scheme under the provisions of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Heritage Overlays and the Environmental Significance Overlays protect significant trees against removal as well as adverse works. Council has followed the appropriate protocols and has all the necessary approvals for the removal of the Blue Gum, taking into consideration the overlays above.

Further detail about road closures and the disruption to the Visitor Information Centre services will be provided over the next week. Residents can stay informed via Council’s Facebook page and website

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