To complete the construction of a shared pathway on Leisure Drive, Kingston, 13 London Plane Trees will be removed.
Staff looked into how the pathway could be built to retain the trees, however, due to the future development planned for the south side of Leisure Drive the trees will need to be removed.
The Shire received a grant from the Department of Transport and funding from the Federal Local Roads Community Infrastructure Program to construct a 2.5m wide Shared Path from the Paris Road bridge to Braidwood Drive in Kingston.
To date, two portions of the Shared Path have been completed. The western portion from the Paris Road Bridge to the start of the London Plane trees (just west of Kingston Drive) and the eastern portion between Kingston Drive and Braidwood Drive.
The missing link is where the London Plane Trees are located. These trees were planted some years ago by the developers of Kingston Estate.
At the time, the alignment selected for the trees did not provide adequate width to locate a future 2.5m wide Shared Path between the road reserve boundary and the trees.
It is also not possible to locate the Shared Path between the trees and the edge of the existing Leisure Drive carriageway as Department of Transport specifications require a minimum separation of one metre between a Shared Path and the road carriageway.
Officers have had preliminary discussions with developer of Lot 101 who previously planted the London Plane trees on the north side of Leisure Drive and their preferred option is for the trees to be removed as they consider that retaining the trees and realigning Leisure Drive would compromise a portion of the future development.
While it is acknowledged that the existing semi mature London Plane trees currently provide some visual amenity they are an exotic tree species and not endemic to the area. London Plane trees can also at maturity grow to over 20 metres in height, this may also be problematic due to the current location.
Once the pathway is completed appropriate landscaping of the verge area will include a combination of eco zoned area with waterwise planting of a number of appropriate trees on a new alignment to ensure any future development is not compromised.