Image source: Townsville City Council's Public Consultation Report
After approximately six months of engaging with Townsville City Council (alongside other community members and groups) regarding their approach to vegetation protection, residents were given the opportunity to provide feedback on TCC's Draft Public Tree Management Policy.
The opportunity to provide feedback closed on Wednesday 13 October, with 70 submissions received. Read on for more information on what we have learned since...
According to TCC's Stakeholder Engagement Public Consultation Report into the Public Tree Management Policy, there was a significant level of support for the adoption of a Public Tree Management Policy, with 643 visits to the consultation webpage and 70 total submissions.
The key themes identified within the submissions could be categorised as follows:
- Removal of trees
- Significance (identification and protection)
- Support for Tree Register
- Policy specifics
- Magnetic Island
NQCC's submission accompanied submissions from the Townsville Tree Advocacy Group, Magnetic Island Nature Care Association (MINCA), and Wildlife Qld Townsville Branch. Representatives from each of the above met with Townsville City Council's Matt Richardson (General Manager Construction, Management and Operations) and Reece Wilkie (head of Parks, Open Space and Environment), to discuss our feedback in more detail.
We learned that an important function of the new policy is to give Council a framework to refer to when approached by members of the community with unreasonable tree removal requests (i.e. for insignificant reasons).
We clarified that the Significant Tree Register will not be created with a tree by tree submission, but will automatically include all public trees that fit the scope and meet the criteria outlined in the policy.
The policy does not include plans to grow Townsville's urban forest or protect significant vegetation communities, but we learned that a new Council nursery is being developed in Anderson Gardens, which we see as a positive move.
This Tree Management Policy is a step in the right direction, but there is a lot of potential for growth in this area, with some fantastic examples from other LGAs around Australia that could be adopted here. The process of consultation has helped us to build important relationships within Council and our community that will put us in good stead for making positive change in future.
You can view footage of the Policy being tabled at the October Ordinary Council meeting here. On the left side panel labelled "event bookmarks", scroll down to "Townsville City Council Public Tree Management Policy and Guidelines".