MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire council could remove up to 161 trees and shrubs from either side of Mt Eliza Way as part of a widening and resurfacing project.
It has applied to chop down 47 trees that will be “directly impacted” by the “Mt Eliza Way road widening project” but if tree root protection zones cannot be achieved, all 161 plants could go, according to an arborist working for the shire’s outdoor contractor Transfield (which changed its name to Broadspectrum in late October).
Arborist Jarrad Miller, in a report to the shire, said 99 of the 161 trees and shrubs had been assessed and were more than 10 years old. Twenty-four were canopy trees native to Victoria and permission for their removal would have to be sought from the state’s environment department.
Trees retained would have to be pruned by a qualified arborist. The shire would be required to provide native vegetation offsets to make up for tree removal.
Widening and resealing Mt Eliza Way between Wendy and Roborough avenues will cost about $700,000, which the shire received from the federal government’s “Roads to Recovery” program.
Associated works included the roundabout at the intersection of Mt Eliza Way and Wimborne and Kenaud avenues, which cost $800,000, also from the federal government.
Improving Mt Eliza Way has wide community support in principle but Ranelagh Residents Association is concerned tree removal will negatively impact the “neighbourhood character of Mt Eliza”. It has written to the shire asking for more detail as well as a public meeting “to display [plans] and discuss the proposal and seek greater feedback from the community”.
The association has asked why layback (rounded) gutters will be constructed, “which will promote roadside parking and will not be a deterrent to keep vehicles away from root zones of vegetation that will be retained [or from] any future replanting”.
It said plans showed parallel parking adjacent to the secondary college, where soccer pitches are being constructed. “Is this amount of parking considered adequate?”
Canadian Bay Rd abutting Howard Parker Reserve had reduced visibility when sport was being played at the reserve. “How will the proposed solution on Mt Eliza Way cope with the extent of parking generated by the use of the ovals for soccer?”
It asked if the shire would consult with Heritage Victoria as Mt Eliza Way borders the eastern edge of heritage-listed Ranelagh Estate, although the road was not included in the 2004 listing.
Trees and shrubs planted after roadworks “should be similar [to] plantings in Ranelagh Estate”.
“Any replanting must be carried out as part of this project and not left to any standard replanting processes assigned during the normal yearly budgetary allocations.”
Former area councillor Leigh Eustace said resealing of Mt Eliza Way was long overdue but he was worried too many trees would be removed. “Barriers erected beside parts of Bungower Rd show we can have an improved road but still retain mature native trees,” he said.