Hart tree plan sees minimal canopy increase, panel told
The proposal by Central Coast Council Administrator Mr Rik Hart to plant 8500 trees to "green" the Peninsula over 10 years would see only a three per cent increase in tree canopy, according to the Peninsula Residents Association.
With a Greater Cities Commission target of 40 per cent by 2036 and existing canopy as low as 10 per cent, the Peninsula would need a net increase of as much as 10 times Mr Hart's proposal to reach the target.
Association representative Mr Frank Wiffen told the Local Planning Panel last week that, if all 8500 were planted immediately and "optimistically" survived to have a tree canopy of 50 square metres each in 10 years' time, it would represent a canopy of 0.425 square kilometres.
"While this is a lot, the Peninsula is 14.8 square kilometres, so the 8500 trees would shade about three per cent," he said.
"They would not be nearly enough."
Mr Wiffen said at least 30 per cent tree canopy was needed to help alleviate the predicted extended periods of high temperatures due to climate change.
"It is not just the Association that is calling for more tree canopy and vegetation cover on the Peninsula.
"It is specifically mentioned in the Central Coast Regional Plan 2041.
"Under Planning for the Narara District, Planning Priority No 2, it states that Woy Woy is the most populous and urbanised area on the Central Coast and that future planning will consider the potential impacts of climate change including the urban heat island effect and that the urban tree canopy will be increased."
Mr Wiffen was speaking in support of a council recommendation to refuse a proposed multi-dwelling development at 8 Priestman Ave, Umina.
"If you look at number 8 Priestman Ave on Google Maps satellite view you will see quite a lot of green vegetation, roughly 30 per cent.
"This proposal, as with virtually all gunbarrels, proposes to reduce that to zero.
"Of course there may be some token landscaping planted at project completion but, if you look at other gun barrels on Google maps that have been completed, you'll see that this is generally of such a small scale as to be virtually undetectable."
As well as planting more trees, the council needed the prevent tree loss.
He said the council needed to refuse applications "such as this one which push us even further into the red zone".
Mr Wiffen later told Peninsula News that, with 182km of roads on the Peninsula, 8500 street trees equated to only one tree on each side of the road every 40 metres.
Central Coast Council's online community poll about the sale of the Austin Butler reserve to fund the planting of 8500 trees closes tonight at www.yourvoiceourcoast.com/AustinButler.
Local Planning Panel agenda 3.1, 9 Nov 2023