Second arborist's report supports removal of cypress trees in Port Fairy's James Street

Moyne Shire director of physical services Trev Greenberger said a second arborist's report has confirmed the need to remove James Street's aging cypress trees. Picture: Amy Paton

Moyne Shire director of physical services Trev Greenberger said a second arborist's report has confirmed the need to remove James Street's aging cypress trees. Picture: Amy Paton

A SECOND arborist’s report into the health and future of James Street’s cypresses has confirmed the need for the trees’ removal.

Moyne Shire secured the second report in response to community opposition to the planned axing of the trees.

Unfortunately for those against removing the trees between James Street and Ocean Drive, the second report backs a street tree management plan completed in 2014, which highlighted the cypresses’ deterioration and increasing risks of falling branches.

Moyne Shire’s director of physical services Trev Greenberger said some councillors requested the second report in response to the community’s opposition, querying whether there was a way to retain the trees.

“(The second report) is generally in agreement with the previous report,” Mr Greenberger said.

“It says the trees are likely to fail, that limbs could fall, and that the most appropriate action is to remove the trees.

“Because there was quite a bit of interest in the community (about the trees), councillors asked if we could investigate other options, such as a staged removal, or whether the trees could be trimmed. 

Trees along a section of James Street (marked in red) have been earmarked as unsafe and in need of removal.

Trees along a section of James Street (marked in red) have been earmarked as unsafe and in need of removal.

“Some councillors were asking for this (second report) to help them make a decision.”

Moyne Shire set aside $60,000 in the 2017/18 draft budget to remove the trees, which are about 80 years old.

A petition opposing the removal will be tabled at the council’s June meeting and the shire has also received a number of submissions from individual residents who are against chopping the cypresses down.

The petition is believed to have stemmed from a Facebook page.

Petitions have to be “on the table” for a month before councillors can act on them. 

The second arborist’s report, along with the public submissions, will officially go before the council for consideration at the July meeting.

The shire had initially planned to remove the trees before the busy summer period due to their proximity to the Southcombe Park Caravan Park.

Port Fairy historian Marten Syme said there was nothing historically significant about the trees and noted they were becoming fragile.

He said that section of James Street originally featured sheoaks, which were replaced by cypress trees some time between 1927 and WWII.