The City of Ballarat will begin removing pine trees from a reserve in Black Hill by the end of the month, despite concerns from residents.
A draft landscaping plan for the Binney Reserve, between Chisholm and Edwardes streets, indicates several large pine trees will be cut down and replaced with native trees and oaks.
The plan, available online, notes the first stage will be trees in the north-western section, with July to August 2021 proposed for removal.
The trees in the north-eastern corner will be removed in June or July 2022, which will allow an "opportunity to revegetate (the) stage one removal area before commencing stage two".
New post and rail fencing will be installed along the Edwardes Street boundary, with a four-metre setback for parking, fire access bollards will be retained, and an existing vehicle track will be removed.
New "granitic sand paths" will provide pedestrian connections to the Black Hill Pool, along "existing desire lines and on flatter ground".
The new plan is in response to an "independent audit of the reserve, which recommended the removal of pine trees due to a risk to public safety", according to a council media release.
"The updated plan has considered community feedback about the impact of the loss of the trees from the reserve and now proposes their removal in two stages over two years," the release states.
There will also be more planting along Chisholm Street, and arborists will continue monitoring trees in the second, north-eastern stage.
"We understand that this project has generated strong community interest, however with the planned removal and ongoing reinstatement works across the area, we are looking forward to the reinvigoration of Binney Reserve for the community to continue to enjoy in the years ahead," infrastructure and environment director Bridget Wetherall said in a statement.
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However, not all residents are impressed - Julian Whitta, who lives nearby, said there was little difference between the new plan and the draft plan, which was released for public consultation late last year.
"The problem is not the trees coming down, it's council's entire approach to it, and a more detailed plan would have been really nice rather than regurgitating what was provided 10 months ago - the only new part is staging the removal of the trees," he said.
"10 months later it appears that consultation is nothing more than a fait accompli, with work beginning immediately, and they haven't addressed the issue of drainage, which is a real problem down the bottom."
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