Councillors abolish tree register fee
Central Coast councillors have voted to abolish a $250 fee for nominating trees for inclusion on the Significant Tree Register just weeks after approving it.
The $250 fee was included in a raft of fees and charges approved for 2020-21 on June 29.
Councillors also voted that criteria for listing a tree be expanded to include cultural significance along with heritage and historical value.
They requested that opportunities for incorporating the Significant Tree Register in Council's Local Planning instruments be investigated, to provide long-term protection to the trees listed on the register.
Speaking in favour of the change at the Council's July 13 meeting, Cr Louise Greenaway said nominating a tree was a community service of no benefit to the nominator.
She said other council areas had registers which celebrated trees for their horticultural, aesthetic, indigenous and heritage value, with many of them providing interactive maps showing trees of significance and heritage trails incorporating trees.
Cr Greenaway said the register had been discussed since August,2019, when it was resolved to expand Gosford Council's Significant Tree Register to include trees from the former Wyong council area.
"Nearly a year later we are yet to have a process by which people can nominate trees from the former Wyong Shire."
The decision followed an address from environmentalist Ms Joy Cooper in the public forum prior to the meeting.
Ms Cooper said the register maintained by the former Gosford Council had been valued by the community and easily accessible, with no fee required to nominate a tree.
"Since the amalgamation I have observed the register having less and less visibility and even an attempt by staff ... to persuade councillors to not even have a register." she said.
"Our region should be showing off, highlighting and differentiating our uniqueness and beauty."
Central Coast Council agenda 6.3, 13 Jul 2020