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Fig Trees Continue To Fall In The Name Of Progress

By Dan Hutton on March 9, 2016 in News

Photo: Randwick City Council

Photo: Randwick City Council

Progress generally comes at a cost. While there is no disputing the benefits that light rail will bring to the Eastern Suburbs, seeing century old fig trees reduced to mulch is enough to bring tears to any aesthete’s eyes.

Thus far around 80 trees have been removed from Alison Road, Anzac Parade and Wansey Avenue, some of which date back to the late 1800s and provide important habitat for native wildlife. By the time you read this that number will have increased significantly and by the project’s completion it will blow out to over 400 trees.

According to Randwick City Council, the removal of the trees on Alison Road could have been avoided if the light rail line ran along the southern side of the road adjacent to the Australian Turf Club, as was originally planned, but Transport for NSW allegedly changed the route without consultation.

It is widely believed that the route was changed to the northern side of the road to better serve the interests of the Australian Turf Club’s planned hotel and multi-storey car park.

While the State Government has pledged to replace the removed trees with new saplings, concerned local residents are far from satisfied with the compromise.

“The cutting down of the trees on the light rail route is environmental vandalism,” Michael Freeman wrote in response to a piece about the tree removal on Randwick Council’s website.

“If the government thinks we are going to be placated with the replacement of 30-metre trees by 3-metre trees, then they have thought wrong.”

Protestors against the removal of the trees, including Jeff Angel from the Total Environment Centre, believe that some of the trees slated for removal along Anzac Parade were planted in honour of our Anzac soldiers in 1917, a suggestion that Transport for NSW denies.

Whether it is true or not, the fact remains that so many beautiful, century-old trees are being destroyed when alternative routes could still be sought.

If you’d like to join the fight against the removal of these trees, search for ‘Saving Sydney’s Trees’ or Total Environment Centre on Facebook.