‘Cheap’ landscaping job

Planted but not care for: Three dead trees alongside Heathcote railway station.
Planted but not care for: Three dead trees alongside Heathcote railway station.

The upgrade of the Heathcote railway station has not been the resounding success the State government would have us think it was. 

Many mature trees were felled in the multi-million-dollar upgrade. 

We were promised that for each tree cut down four mature trees would be replanted. 

Quite a number of eucalypts were indeed planted but mostly were so small in size that you could immediately see that many would not survive. 

That was the prediction and that is what happened. For several years local residents have been complaining to Sydney Trains, Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport and the Heathcote MP, Lee Evans to no avail. 

Many of the trees that have survived at the railway station have been watered (using soft drink bottles filled with water) by local residents frustrated that Sydney Trains simply let the small gum trees die through lack of water. 

Residents have even been forced to provide their own stakes to prop up many of the trees which were dying.

Thanks to their efforts at least some of the trees have survived. A particular case in point are the trees next to the staircase near the Princes Highway. 

The original trees died; were replaced with more tiny specimens and because of a lack of water and care died immediately.

Local residents tried to save them without success. Photographic evidence has been collected to show the dismal failure of the state government’s policy of planting four trees for every one they kill.

There is no point grandstanding about planting four trees for every one removed in the shire if they die!

This was a multi-million-dollar upgrade and the landscaping is considered paltry. The contractor must come back and plant mature trees and groundcover and large native bushes. I note the excellent job done with landscaping after upgrades at Oatley Station. Why was Heathcote given the ‘cheap’ landscaping job?

Heathcote East will lose in excess of 300 trees if the Heathcote Hall development proceeds. 

More shade gone, more vital habitat gone. Some trees may be replaced but many of the trees on the two sites mentioned here are in excess of 100-years-old.

The shire is losing its canopy and governments and councils need to ensure when they are bragging about replacing four trees for each one they kill they actually look after the plants until they can fend for themselves.

‘Stand clear’: the doors are closing on our trees. Over to you Sydney Trains.

Patrick Kennedy 

Residents Against Over Development Heathcote