Council retains tree register under new tree policy
Central Coast Council has retained its significant tree register and will require tree assessments to be conducted by level five qualified arborists with the adoption of its new tree policy on Monday, August 12.
Trees of cultural significance will also now be included in the register.
The new tree and vegetation management chapter will now be added into the Wyong Development Control Plan as chapter 3.6 and within the Gosford Development Control Plan as chapter 6.6.
The draft chapter was exhibited from November to January, but did not include a tree register and required only level three qualifications.
More than 200 submissions were received, with more than 120 coming from the southern area of the Coast.
Support for the policy stood at 88 per cent of the submissions, with tree groups, including the Peninsula's Grow Urban Street Trees group, calling for the changes ultimately included in the policy.
Many submissions wanted council to control the process of exemptions, but council staff explained that the policy operated under a State Environmental Planning Policy and could not override exemptions allowable under that legislation.
Councillors Greg Best, Troy Marquart and Bruce McLachlan spoke against the changes, wanting the arborist qualifications to be left at level three.
Cr Marquart wanted to know the cost to the council, stating that the cost to residents would triple and that it would be harder to cut down trees.
Director of Environment Mr Scott Cox said that there would be no cost to the council.
The policy will apply generally to the urban areas and to the environmentally zoned lands referred to as non-rural zones.
The chapter identifies that exemptions are available through a variety of NSW legislations including bushfire hazard reduction works, electricity network maintenance and emergency work for example.
It also identifies minor works which may be carried out to enable residents to carry out normal garden maintenance.
Central Coast Council agenda 2.2, 12 Aug 2019
Reporter: Merilyn Vale