Blue Mountains heritage coerced by self interest

ATLAS WarriorsATLAS of Katoomba 
[ © Photo by Editor 20140907, Katoomba, Blue Mountains World Heritage Area]

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At an informal community meeting at ATLAS (a 200+ year old endemic Blue Mountains Ash) today, it has been made public that Blue Mountains Council’s tree officer had been inappropriately coerced by a councillor in 2010 to have this magnificent iconic tree conveniently killed.  According to the officer it is because of a (very) close association with a property developer of the adjoining site.

Fortunately the tree officer, out of respect for this heritage tree and out of respect for the rule of law and for due process, personally stood up to the councillor’s intimidation and so appropriately arranged for an independent arborist to evaluate the viable health of this tree.

That independent arborist reported that the tree was healthy and ought to be retained, and so it has.

All credit to Council’s Public Tree Officer for resolutely following due process. The developer has a track record of ignoring Blue Mountains Councils development consent conditions relating to this tree.  DA consent conditions 61, 62, 63, and 68 have all been ignored or breached.

Despite Council’s requirement for Tree Protection Measures and a Tree Protection Plan, neither were supplied, yet the industrial development was allowed to proceed.

The developer has illegally lopped a healthy branch from the tree.

Illegal loppingMain branch illegally lopped by the developer’s contractor without Council permission
[ © Photo by Angophora Consulting Arborist, 201410-03, Katoomba, Blue Mountains World Heritage Area]

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The developer furnished no Tree Protection Measures, Tree Protection Plan or Tree Protection Zone. In the mind of the developer, the tree is situated on Council land after all.  He knew as such and was likely told that his environmental bond was a farce.

He is correct.  So this is why a string of Council bureaucrats have gone running for cover. .

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