Why do Metro and PTV want to remove the trees?
Metro Trains and Public Transport Victoria (PTV) want to remove 10 trees at Newmarket Station for maintenance work on the platform retaining wall: the 100-year-old River Red Gum, six poplars, one elm, one pittosporum and one peppercorn (on the eastern side of the platform).
Why is this a problem?
All 10 trees are covered by a Heritage Overlay – they add to the green canopy of the heritage-protected Newmarket Station. The 100-year-old River Red Gum has the highest protection possible: an Environmental Significance Overlay with the backing of the National Trust.
Metro and PTV need a planning permit for the removal of the trees and have not applied for one. They argue they are exempt because the trees are unsafe.
Are the trees safe?
All trees are healthy and safe according to Moonee Valley Council (MVCC). An arborist report for the River Red Gum says that it is low risk, in good health and can live another 50 years with ongoing care and pruning. MooneeValleyNewmarketStation Arborists Report
Metro and PTV claim the trees are unsafe but have not made any evidence of this claim available to the public.
What happened last week?
Metro and PTV advised MVCC on Tuesday the trees would be removed at 9pm Friday 24 Jan. Community members and Council worked hard to prevent this.
MVCC wrote to Minister Horne advising that removing the trees without a permit would be a criminal act under the Planning and Environment Act.
On Friday 24 Jan, MVCC threatened to take enforcement action to prevent removal of the trees. Metro agreed to halt any removals of any trees until 4pm Friday 31 Jan.
On Friday night, Metro erected fencing around the entire park and playground. Council is seeking information on whether this has been done legally.
What’s likely to happen this week?
Metro plans to remove the trees from 4pm Friday 31 Jan.
MVCC and community members will be working hard to reach a negotiated outcome with Metro in which the trees and other landscaping are protected.
MVCC may meet this week to decide what further legal action to take.
What is community asking for?
- For Metro and PTV to seek a planning permit from MVCC;
- For heritage trees to be protected;
- For any evidence of safety risk to be made publicly available; and
- For solutions to be found to undertake necessary works and preserve healthy heritage trees.
What can you do to help?
1. Write to and ring:
2. Contact Moonee Valley Councillors to ask them to support any legal action the Council can take (e.g. Injunction)
4. Attend on site:
- 3pm Mon 27 Jan – Banner making
- 6pm Weds 29 Jan – Community update
- From 3pm Fri 31 Jan – Meet on site to #SaveRed as necessary
5. Share this information with neighbours and on social media
6. Any other actions you think might help to save Newmarket’s heritage trees! Thanks!! let us know what you are doing so we can tell others.
Where can you find more information?
- MVCC’s information page here
- Save Newmarket Trees Facebook Page here
- A video made by local resident, Mark Christie, here
- Rose Iser 0414959427 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Logan Shield 0402689598 email@example.com
- Flemington Association firstname.lastname@example.org
- Moonee Valley Heritage Action email@example.com
If anyone else would like their contact details or anything else listed here, please let me know. The community action is a collaboration of the individual and group efforts of hundreds of people all doing what we can. Thanks heaps to everyone.