Moyne Shire seeks input on James Street trees, climate change impacts in Port Fairy

The issue of climate change impacts on South Beach in Port Fairy is just one of the matters Moyne Shire is seeking community feedback on.
The issue of climate change impacts on South Beach in Port Fairy is just one of the matters Moyne Shire is seeking community feedback on.

MOYNE Shire is turning to ratepayers and residents for feedback on two hot-button issues in Port Fairy.

The replacement of trees in James Street and the threat of climate change and sea level rise are up for discussion, with the council starting two community consultation processes.

The matter of removing cypress trees at the southern end of James Street sparked a public petition and community outcry, but Moyne Shire received two arborists’ reports recommending the removal of the 80-year-old trees due to the risks they presented from falling limbs.

Having confirmed the trees need removal, the council has set up a short poll on its website.

It asks residents to choose between sheoak, olive, Norfolk Island pine, or a tree of their choice as a replacement. It also asks whether respondents would prefer new trees planted on both sides of James Street, only the east side, only the west side, or only the west side within Russell Clarke Reserve.

For the much bigger issues of climate change, coastal erosion and sea-level rise, the shire will hold drop-in sessions for people to learn more about the research and have their say.

A discussion paper titled Defend Port Fairy can be downloaded or picked up from council offices to allow people to understand the issue before they have their say.

The drop-in sessions will be held at the Port Fairy Community Services Centre on October 12 from 2.30pm-4.30pm and 5.30pm-7.30pm and October 13 from 8.30am-10.30am and 11.30am-1.30pm.

The aim of Defend Port Fairy is to make the town “more resilient to sea level rise and extreme weather events”.

The discussion paper highlights the old tip and night waste site at East Beach, the Botanical Gardens, and houses closed to East Beach and South Beach as being at extreme risk of coastal erosion, inundation or wave run-up.

State treasurer Tim Pallas visited Port Fairy last month to hear Moyne Shire’s pitch for state funding for a number of key projects in the town, including protection for East Beach and South Beach.

Moyne Shire is seeking roughly $5 million from the state government to help protect East Beach and South Beach from coastal erosion and inundation problems, with the council to put in $2.5 million of its own money.