Statement from City of Kingston Planning and Development General Manager Jonathan Guttmann:
Australian Super and ISPT, the owners of the former Kingswood Golf Course site contacted Kingston Council Officers seeking permission to remove or prune 75 trees on the site.
The site presently contains approximately 1,500 trees and Council Officers have made it very clear that the vegetation on the site requires protection and appropriate approvals are sought prior to any removal.
An inspection and arborist audit were undertaken to assess the health of each tree, with sadly some found to be in poor health and showing evidence of root/branch rot. These inspections were audited by Council’s arborist.
As a result, a permit was granted by Council Officers to remove 36 trees, which require a Local Law permit to be removed. A further 8 protected trees were also approved for pruning. A condition of the permit includes 1 for 1 replacement planting of indigenous canopy trees which is the type of condition Council imposes on private property owners seeking approval to remove trees.
Prior to the works commencing Council understands that the land owners sent an information bulletin letter-drop to immediately adjacent residents.
The Mayor and Councillors have requested that in future, they are to be made aware of any applications for tree removal on the Kingswood site.
The remaining 31 trees were assessed as ‘native vegetation’, which requires a planning permit for removal under Clause 52.17 of the Kingston Planning Scheme.
The owners have last week lodged a planning application for permission to remove/lop 11 of these trees and to lop overhanging branches from 3 other trees.
This application has been ‘called in’ by Cr Staikos for Councillor decision. This planning application is now being assessed by Council and will be advertised for community consultation once all required information is submitted.
Council officers have also visited the site late last week and formally sought an explanation from the land owner’s representative regarding the ‘browning off’ of significant parts of the site.
We will also be flagging the need for owners to manage any dust on the site, so that it does not negatively impact on surrounding properties