Tree fees to help fund increased urban canopy

Seeing the forest for the fees: Georges River Council has endorsed the exhibited schedule of fees and charges including a street tree deposit to ensure the protection of trees on public land.
Seeing the forest for the fees: Georges River Council has endorsed the exhibited schedule of fees and charges including a street tree deposit to ensure the protection of trees on public land.

New fees contained in the Georges River Council interim Tree Management Policy will help fund a reserve to meet the aims of its Urban Forest Strategy which seeks to increase the city’s tree canopy cover.

Mayor Kevin Greene said that the amendments will form a comprehensive Policy for the preservation, enhancement and management of trees on private and public lands within the local government area.

“Following the recent public exhibition of the Tree Management Policy, Council has endorsed the exhibited schedule of fees and charges including a street tree deposit to ensure the protection of trees on public land, which will be required when an adjoining site is under construction,” Councillor Greene.

“The offset fee for tree replacement cost has initially been set at $2,250 per tree.

“This fee will apply to trees on private property which are required to be removed following extensive assessment, either as a result of a Development Application or Tree Permit approval.

“The applicant will be responsible for funding the removal of street trees, as well as the cost of planting, establishing and maintaining replacement trees to maturity.

“Council believes that the offset fees will encourage the retention of mature trees on development sites,” Cr Greene said.

“Council has also adopted the Greater Sydney Region Plan’s target to increase canopy cover to 40 per cent by 2038 as part of our Urban Forest Strategy, which will be directly funded by the fees and charges we’ve adopted,” he said.

Council may conduct audit checks on replacement plantings, and planting of replacement trees must occur within six weeks of any tree removal.

The application of the offset fee for tree replacement will be reviewed within six months, and a further report will be provided to Council within the next two months including an update on key areas such as the use of tree bonds in order to assist the Policy’s permanent implementation.

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