KTRA response to Draft Tree Strategy

March 2022

The City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters provided an on-line form to respond to the Draft Tree Strategy. There were 6 sections: Identify & manage; Protect & Value; Plan for Growth & Renewal; Maintain; Inspire and Influence; Other.

Thank you to our Kent Town residents who responded to the request in the KTRA  February newsletter for comment and ideas to add to the KTRA response. Our consolidated response follows.

NPSP Council’s VISION

We like that the Council has developed a Draft Tree Strategy which will hopefully lead to a greener council area with more diversity of species and more resilience to the effects of climate change. We also appreciate that the Council is using scientific tools like heat maps and tree canopy cover maps to inform the strategy.

These show that Kent Town has the 4th lowest tree canopy cover in the council area and we are worried that the pace of development in our suburb and removal of existing trees will decrease this tree canopy if no action is taken.
We would like to see the addition, in “Protect and Value”, of tree protection cages in areas/streets where there is high night time foot traffic. It’s disappointing to see trees planted and watered then vandalised with branches pulled off or trees pulled up.

1 IDENTIFY & MANAGE

KTRA commends the Council’s plan (1.1.1) to procure and implement tree identification and management software. Over the last 2 years we have mapped the trees in Kent Town, recording the location and species, which has enabled us to identify where more trees are needed in our streets. We  understand that the City of Marion uses “Forestree” software to increase community visibility of their tree management program and that this software enables them to show the work undertaken and resourcing impact to successfully maintain their trees. This software sounds very useful and we believe it would be a worthwhile investment for the City of NP&SP

1.1.2 “prioritising high risk areas” is a very important one for KTRA as we have identified trees along Capper St, Rundle St, King William St and Parade West which are prone to vandalism. As one example, there are 2 trees which were planted in Capper St 4 or 5 years ago, and they are still only about 1.5m high because their branches are constantly stripped and broken. Thefts of verge plantings is an issue in high traffic areas – the residents of the Brewery Apartments are constantly losing verge plants due to theft. Is there any approach that Council, maybe in conjunction with the State government could take, to introduce or enforce penalties for theft of verge plants?

Another concern for us in high traffic areas is  the litter that accumulates around trees and verge plantings, thrown and dropped by pedestrians – fast food containers, bottles etc. For example, a group Brewery Apartments residents work hard to plant and maintain their verges on Dequetteville Tce with regular working bees but a lot of their time is spent in cleaning up litter before they begin to do planting or watering. This is a high visibility area and one of the main “entrances” to Kent Town becomes unsightly due to the rubbish. Is it possible for Council to have a programme of regular clean-ups of “high litter” areas?

2 PROTECT & VALUE

The retention of street trees is very important to the KTRA.
Actions 2.1.3; 2.1.4 and 2.1.6 relating to the loss of street trees and the effects of private development are an issue for us. Over the last 3 years the number of developments happening in Kent Town which result in damage to, or loss of, trees has increased. Despite architect’s drawings, it is rare that the greening they depict ever occurs.

2.1.6 refers to “loss of amenity charges” which may affect developers lack of care for vegetation and in the absence of any other action being available once trees are removed or damaged it is a good idea.

3 PLAN FOR GROWTH & RENEWAL

The KTRA strongly supports the replacement of ageing, inappropriate, dead or diseased trees. The 5 strategies outlined in 3.1 are all positive steps and we particularly endorse 3.1.1(500 new trees per year) 3.1.3 one Streetscape Upgrade or Complete Street project per year and 3.1.5 Integrating WSUD with tree planting and street upgrades.
We encourage Council to develop a Species Diversity Quota (3.2.4) to increase biodiversity and habitat for birds and small insects/reptiles

4 MAINTAIN

Maintenance of trees is essential to this strategy.
Developing and implementing guidelines for planting, watering and pruning (4.1.1) by the Council staff, should also  include the opportunity for residents to adopt-a-tree.

We have shown in Kent Town that when residents are involved in the planning and monitoring of trees (and verges) they will undertake watering, weed removal etc on the trees, not just adjacent to their property but along their street and nearby streets.

On the NP&SP website under “Our Environment -> Tree Management” there are not clear links to the items mentioned on Page 55 of the Draft Tree Strategy under “Community Education and Incentive programs” . The great things that council is already doing (Tree vouchers; Sustainable Garden Awards; Free Native Tree Give-aways etc)  need to be promoted more widely on the website, so that residents can easily locate them and participate in these programs.

KTRA have found that 4.2.2 is already working well. CRM’s have been attended to in a timely manner and contact with the individual customer or with our Association  has been very good.

5 INSPIRE & INFLUENCE

In this section KTRA particularly encourages the implementation of all 3 actions under 5.1 Community.
The Verge Greening Pilot was a popular idea and we support its continuation.
Community Surveys and Engagement Plans will assist in creating and maintaining support among residents for greening “their patch”.

6 OTHER COMMENTS

We would like to reiterate that protection for new street trees in high foot traffic areas should be given further consideration. This is a particular issue in streets in Kent Town because there is high pedestrian traffic from the city during events like the Fringe and Festival, and the variety of weekend fairs/events in Rymill Park and Rundle Park (Cheese Fest, 3 Day Event, Moonlight Cinema etc)

KTRA would like to see the introduction of markers on significant and historical trees on the City of NP&SP n- for example the “Pepper Trees” within Prince Alfred College Grounds and Dr Kents Paddock housing were planted in the early days of Kent Town. Recognising the age and significance of trees in a public way reinforces the importance of tree in our suburb.