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Urban Canopy Expansion: Georges River Council Revamps Tree Management for a Greener Future

Georges River Council Boosts Urban Canopy with New Tree Policy

In an effort to foster a greener, more resilient urban environment, the Georges River Council recently passed a significant revision to its Tree Management Policy during a council meeting held on May 27, 2024. This innovative Policy introduces a strategic framework for the stewardship of trees situated on both private and public lands within the Georges River local government area (LGA).

Ambitiously, the council has committed to a goal of expanding urban canopy coverage to 40% by the year 2038. This objective is designed to harmonize with the ecological ambitions outlined in the Greater Sydney Region Plan, underlining a broad vision to intertwine urban development with natural growth.

The newly revised Tree Management Policy underscores a proactive approach towards enhancing and conserving the area’s tree population. Central to the Policy is a clear preference for the conservation of existing trees, treating tree removal as a measure of last resort. Moreover, it advocates for the introduction of a varied mix of tree species, carefully selected to enhance the ecological sustainability and resilience of the urban forest within the local area.

Equally important, the Policy dispenses equal attention to trees in public spaces and on private property, recognizing that achieving the canopy target necessitates a collective effort. Among its notable updates, the Policy includes:

  • A restructured organization that differentiates the guidelines for managing private versus public trees, improving its accessibility and clarity.
  • A refined definition of what constitutes a ‘tree’ to bolster enforcement against unlawful tree removal.
  • Explicit criteria and methodologies for the management of Significant Trees, underscoring their importance in the urban ecosystem.
  • Enhanced guidelines and a prioritization of replacement planting on private lands, setting a clear path for replenishment in cases of tree removal.

In parallel with the Policy update, the council introduced amendments to the Georges River Development Control Plan (DCP) 2021. These amendments mandate the inclusion of at least one tree in all new single dwelling and dual occupancy developments. This measure is aimed at strengthening the legal framework to prosecute unauthorized tree activities, safeguarding the LGA’s green heritage.

Highlighting the initiative’s importance, Georges River Council Mayor Sam Elmir championed the revised policy as a cornerstone of environmental responsibility. “Our environment is vital for the health and happiness of our community and the global ecosystem,” he stated. Elmir passionately advocated for an increase in tree and shrub planting, coupled with a halt to the unwarranted felling of mature trees. “The protection of our region’s biodiversity, particularly native species, is essential for forging a sustainable future,” he concluded.

The updated Tree Management Policy, alongside the modifications to the DCP, are scheduled to come into force on June 10, 2024. This marks a significant step forward in Georges River Council’s commitment to enhancing urban green spaces, promoting biodiversity, and building a sustainable future for its community.

Ava Bloom

Ava Bloom is an eco-influencer and sustainability coach who has transformed her commitment to a zero-waste lifestyle into a catalyst for change. Through her engaging social media presence and hands-on workshops, Ava teaches the beauty and feasibility of sustainable living. Her journey is one of continuous learning and sharing, from eco-friendly home practices to advocating for sustainable fashion. Ava's articles are a treasure trove of tips, tricks, and motivational insights, empowering readers to make small changes that have a big impact on our planet.

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