Cuts cause concern

Kyneton Showground trees (supplied).

Zoe Moffatt

Kyneton residents are petitioning against the removal of ten elm trees at the showgrounds, which are set to make way for new netball courts.

The Save our Trees hardcopy petition has recently launched in response to the Kyneton Showground Master Plan, which was adopted by Macedon Ranges council in March last year.

The plan accessed two options for additional netball courts and decided on option one- to remove the O’Sullivan Pavilion and adjacent trees and construct two courts side-by-side from the Mollison Street boundary.

The second option was to construct two courts side-by-side in the area at the southern end of the fire training track.

Local resident Leagh Goodwin found out about the removal of the trees on Facebook this month and said the thought of the trees being cut down “horrified” her.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to feels very upset about this. If the netball court could be moved to another area, then this would be a win-win for all,” she said.

“They are too important to cut down.”

Ms Goodwin said Kyneton is typical of old country towns in Victoria and the charm comes from the historical buildings and old trees that line the streets.

“These mature trees are historical and aesthetically create a relaxed ambience,” she said.

“They soften the environment of the sportsground, add beauty and most importantly, they provide shade, shelter and habitat for our wildlife.

“During the Kyneton Agricultural Show last November, it was 26 degrees and hot. The area under those trees was the one cool place outdoors.”

Macedon Ranges council acting chief executive Shane Walden said during the development of the plan, numerous options for the netball facilities were considered and the most suitable location was identified.

“The adoption of the [plan] followed extensive consultation with site user groups and the broader community,” he said.

“Council does not take tree removal decisions lightly and considered an independent arborist’s report that identified ten mature trees around the existing netball court as being in various stages of declining tree health, vigour, and life expectancy.

“The [plan] also ensures additional tree planting on the site.”

Ms Goodwin said a number of community members have put in money to go to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal but said hopes the council reconsiders its decision so the matter doesn’t have to go to the VCAT.