Council adopts CBD tree policy: Path cleared for more shady trees

A COUNCIL resolution calling for an inventory of the existing number of cooling canopy trees within Parramatta CBD has been passed and will pave the way for ramping up plans for planting more.

The aim of the Parramatta Council resolution is to increase the number of canopy trees planted in the booming central business district, currently estimated to be 10% of the 40% target.

Committing to a target and time frame for the Council to prioritise increased planting of tree canopies within Parramatta CBD is a welcome move, said Councillor Sameer Pandey who proposed the motion.

“From whichever angle you look at it, trees are vital to our community and future,” said Clr Pandey.“

“It provides visual appeal, improves air quality, helps with health and well-being, helps in managing storm water, improves property values, has cooling effects, [and] controls wind speeds in the CBD.”

Clr Pandey earlier proposed The Tree Canopy Initiative supported by six other councillors but the motion was rescinded by a vote from three councillors, including Lord Mayor Bob Dwyer, citing the Council already has a “good record” on tree planting across the suburbs.

Clr Dwyer said Council has planted more than 500,000 trees across the Parramatta council area in the past five years and every resident has been given free trees to plant on their properties twice a year.

But Clr Dwyer admitted the Council may find difficulties increasing the number of trees planted within the CBD due to high-density businesses and vital infrastructure developments currently ongoing.

According to Clr Steven Issa, the Parramatta area has been adjudged a “standout council” by the Centre of Urban Research for achieving a balanced increase of tree canopies planted within the CBD and its suburbs.

Clr Pandey said the approved resolution will now call for a report on the number of trees standing as well as “committing to a target and timeframe to prioritise tree canopy increase in Parramatta CBD.”

The resolution also included “changes in planning controls to protect replaced trees,” Clr Pandey said.

“I thank all my councillor colleagues who supported this motion.”

The Parramatta LGA is among the 30 Council areas within Greater Sydney that the NSW Government will fund with more than $8 million to plant more trees in a partnership program called Cooler Suburbs to lower heat, provide shades from trees, and enhance the look of developed town centres.

– Elizabeth Frias

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