Missing – 50 year old ash tree and bucket load of money

rosebud 11 October 2009 9

I used to live in a house with a 50 year old ash tree out the back. It was an inner north Canberra suburb with a very small, badly sited cottage on a long, thin strip of land. I wanted desperately to knock down and rebuild or renovate. I put up with the house for years because it was such a great location. I tried many, many times to get planning approval for various extensions, however, the one thing that always prevented me from doing this was the magnificent 50 year old giant Golden Ash tree on my back door. People told me to ‘accidentally’ poison it, but I just couldn’t. It was so lovely.

Indeed, so lovely that when the local government created a master plan for the suburb, they identified it as a tree of significance. Many times I heard the reply from the planning office that we would never ever ever get permission to get rid of it or knock it down.

So it was with a lot of regret that I ended up selling my house. The buyers were the local government.

I figured at least the tree would be safe from accidental poisoning. That was a couple of years ago. Today, I drove past my old house, and you will have guessed by now – the 15 meter canopy of my glorious ash tree (the bane and pleasure of my life when I lived in the house) was GONE! How did that happen?

Can the local government by-pass it’s own masterplan when us ordinary mortals cannot? I would never have sold up if I could have removed the tree. It is a uber-prime redevelopment site and worth a sh*t load of money without the tree.

At least twice if not three times what I had to sell for because it couldn’t be redeveloped because of the tree!!! I feel like I’ve been ripped off! Do I have any recourse now? Probably not.

The government giveth and the government taketh away and we all just have to suck it up.

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9 Responses to Missing – 50 year old ash tree and bucket load of money
grunge_hippy grunge_hippy 6:03 pm 12 Oct 09

the rangers are a bunch of a$$holes. I had my back neighbour burning off his rubbish from his reno’s, did the right thing and called the rangers, they were surprising there within 30 mins but the guy told them he was ‘roasting a pig’ so they let him off the hook. I saw him throwing all sorts of rubbish on the fire, fence pailings etc. yummy. He had done it about 4 or so other occasions, but that meant nothing. being preggers and with a young toddler running around, it was not pleasant. it even made our smoke detector go off one day it was so bad.

sorry, not that this helps with the tree issue, but its example of the ACT govt suiting itself despite its own rules!!! perhaps the old codger offered him some of the roast pig!!

Chop71 Chop71 2:55 pm 12 Oct 09

and follow this link to see where your money is being spent.


The ACT government has decided to replace trees in already leafy suburbs like Turner, Narrabundah, Griffith and Ainslie rather than replace dangerous 30 year old eucalyptus that are fire prone and drop branches.

As a resident of outer belconnen I have found it very hard to even get DEAD trees put on the 2010 replacement list. I have basicly been told it will not happen.

What a crock of hot air.


damien haas damien haas 2:13 pm 12 Oct 09

In August the Belconnen Community Council hosted Fleur Flanery, Manager of Canberras ‘Urban Forest Renewal Program’. It was a fascinating and statistically heavy briefing on trees in Canberra and how we relate to them in Canberra.

This is from Ms Flanerys blurb:

Canberra’s Urban Forest Renewal

There are 630,000 trees in Canberra’s streets and parks – it’s the largest urban forest in Australia. As a result of age, a predicted warmer climate and less rainfall many, estimated to be up to two thirds of Canberra’s trees, will decline and die in the coming 25 years.

Through renewal activities, the program aims to maintain the urban forest and make it sustainable for future generations. The community’s help with this complex program is essential. Ms Flannery will outline the practicalities of the community’s role for the program’s success.

End Blurb

On the topic of disposal of trees, I asked what happened to the tress that were cut down. I was informed they were chipped and mulched. Two thirds of 635,000 trees is a lot of trees.

I suggested that there could be a few alternatives to this. If you want to manage a forest, you need to ensure the products are sold/used in a ‘sustainable’ manner – you may even realise revenue that could be returned to ‘urban forest renewal’.

Suggestion 1 – eucalyptus trees identifed as being ‘dangerous’ or otherwise in need of removal and suitable for burning, be sold to firewood retailers.

Suggestion 2 – rare species identified as being ‘dangerous’ or otherwise in need of removal, be removed by specialist wood retailers. The wood could be used for furniture or other value adding products.

Suggestion 3 – instead of removing a ‘dangerous’ tree, fence it off or place signage advising the tree could drop limbs and for people to exercise caution and common sense.

Of course these were on the spot ideas, and no doubt wiser minds than mine in the ACT Government have considered similar schemes, before arriving at the decision to simply chip all trees.

I fear that Canberra will face a tree monoculture in the future. Well meaning and well educated tree specialists will decide what trees can be planted or removed, and we will come home one day wondering where that tree on the nature strip has gone. It is also a prime example on why you need to get out of your lounge chair and be involved in community consultation. have your say in how you want Canberra to evolve.

Here is the url to the urban forest renewal program:


AG Canberra AG Canberra 12:50 pm 12 Oct 09

Ask to speak to the FOI officer – that usually kicks them into gear. If it was felled there will have to be a work order and that has to be signed by someone….

Feathergirl Feathergirl 10:36 am 12 Oct 09

The ACT gruberment just don’t deal with tree issues very well in my experience. One day I came home from work and my gum tree at the front of the house – the biggest gum tree on the street – was just gone. Two days later I got a note in my letterbox advising me they were going to cut down my tree…

amarooresident2 amarooresident2 9:24 am 12 Oct 09

Maybe the tree just died? Got sick? There is a drought on.

caf caf 12:30 am 12 Oct 09

Did you expect anything less from this money grabbing government?

What does that even mean? I’m sure you know that the money doesn’t go into J. Stanhope’s back pocket!

Any bit of revenue that the government can get is either some revenue that doesn’t have to be raised through general rates, or a service that doesn’t have to be cut. If they’re being tightfisted, well – that’s good, isn’t it? After all, it’s our money they’re being tightfisted with. A spendthrift government would be a problem, I would have thought.

Not that I’m not condoning any kind of shonkiness that may have happened in respect to the posting, but I would have thought you could come up with a more meaningful criticism than that.

I-filed I-filed 9:42 pm 11 Oct 09

ACT Government is corrupt. Folks near me cut down their massive tree during the moratorium – BOTH turned out to be ACT Govt employees – one of them in the same dept as the unit that is supposed to look after the trees. These two had lied on the form, and there were no consequences for them. Complaints from neighbours totally ignored – apparently a ranger came and took photos of the stump (massive, the tree was three times as tall as the house) but they never made it onto the files …

Thumper Thumper 5:56 pm 11 Oct 09

Did you expect anything less from this money grabbing government?

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