FEARS have again been raised over the future of 150-year-old blue gums growing along the Pioneer Woodland section of a historic track in Sorrento.
Members of the Tuckey Track Friends Group say the “majestic trees” are threatened by the building of a 2.5 metre high paling fence.
Mornington Peninsula Shire has confirmed work on the fence was stopped after being inspected by a local laws officer.
However, the property owner has applied for a permit which has yet to be assessed by the shire.
In 2016, the shire rejected an application for a permit to have them cut down by the owner of the property next to Tuckey Track.
“Known locally as The Cathedral, branches from the four mature trees (Eucalyptus globulus) form a canopy “which provide a sense of inspiration and wellbeing for walkers”, friends group convener Julie Corridon said.
The popular two kilometre walking track has a rich history. Commencing at Sorrento Foreshore Reserve, through to the Mornington Peninsula National Park and Bass Strait, Tuckey Track has its origins as a Boon Wurrung track. In 1803, The Collins Settlement Site, which incorporates Tuckey Track, became the place of Victoria’s first European settlement; adding another layer of history to the precinct.”
Ms Corridon said residents had been “alarmed by the height and bulk of the fence”.
“The open view lines of the Pioneer Woodland section of the track are an integral part of the walking experience. This fence undermines our plans to share the fascinating story of Sorrento’s early settlement with the public in the shire’s forthcoming Cultural Trails initiative.”
Nepean Historical Society records show limeburner Charles Stonner took possession of the site next to the track in 1866. Two years later Dr John Blair built Kinneil on the ridgeline which could be seen from the track.
In 2017, a construction impact tree assessment following an application to build two dwellings recommended strict guidelines to protect the trees.
“A planning permit is essential to ensure contractors comply with the special construction methods to protect the roots, so walkers and volunteers are not at risk, friends group secretary Margaret Mather said.
She said the group was anxious to have the fencing issue resolved “so their efforts are not in vain and their plans for the wider community can be realised”.