WOLLI Creek Preservation Society will embrace its image as ‘‘tree-huggers’’ on July 29, hosting a day dedicated to cuddling the tall timber in a pocket of bushland bordering Bexley Road near Illoura Park.
Planned as part of Planet Ark’s National Tree Day, the society wants to highlight the impact which the proposed expansion of the M5 East will have on trees in the area.
‘‘We want to celebrate the trees while they still exist,’’ society
bushcare co-ordinator Peter Stevens said.
And the group is determined the trees will be looking their best for the day, with plans to dress them up in a range of ensembles ranging from dresses, to aprons, prayer flags and sleeves.
‘‘We have formed a guerilla knitting group for the event, and are having knitting bees over the next few weekends,’’ said Wolli Creek member Laura Zusters.
In November 2009, the previous state government announced a plan to expand the M5 East, including adding four news lanes to the existing M5 East tunnel, which is right next to the bushland the preservation society is desperate to save.
At the time the entire expansion, which stretches from Glenfield to Sydney Airport, was valued at $4.5 billion.
Mr Stevens said the footprint associated with the current plan to build a ‘‘cut-and-cover’’ tunnel next to the existing one would destroy all the existing vegetation.
‘‘The section of bushland threatened holds over 200 trees with a girth above half a metre, and we are still counting them,’’ Mr Stevens said.
He said the group was determined to stop the expansion from going ahead.
A spokeswoman for Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) stressed that no decision had been made yet to proceed with the M5 East.
However, this could change quickly with Infrastructure NSW due to release the State Infrastructure Strategy in September, which the spokeswoman said ‘‘may include a recommendation on future Sydney motorways’’.
‘‘RMS owns several parcels of land in Wolli Creek between Bexley Road and Johnston Street, some of which may be required for the potential future expansion of the M5 East,’’ the spokeswoman said.
She added that extensive community consultation on route options and environmental impacts would be done if the project were to proceed.
Hug-a-Tree Day will be held from 10am to noon on the Sunday, in bushland on the eastern side of Bexley Road where Wolli Creek meets the road.
Do you support the M5 expansion?