Finding new spaces for canopy trees - Garners Avenue car park upgrade

Inner West Council’s recently completed upgrade to Garners Avenue car park included the installation of two super-advanced native trees that will improve shade and amenity - and extend the serviceable life of the bitumen by up to 30%.

The car park was due for surface replacement, which Council recognised provided a rare opportunity to plant large trees.

“All the reasons that make it so difficult to plant really substantial trees in built-up areas of the inner west - a lack of space, poor or disturbed soil conditions, conflicts with underground and above ground services – were able to be overcome in the car park upgrade,” Administrator of Inner West Council Richard Pearson said.

“When mature, these trees will provide canopy cover to at least three-quarters of the carpark. So, instead of the usual unshaded bitumen and concrete which would increase the inner west’s ‘urban heat island effect’, we are actually contributing shade, cooler ambient air temperatures, and improved urban air quality,” Mr Pearson said.

The trees, Angophora costata (Sydney Red Gum), were planted in state-of-the-art structural soil vaults that provide optimal soil volume and ensure the trees can reach full maturity.

Permeable paving was installed over the ‘vaults’ to provide ‘passive’ irrigation and ongoing access to water.

When mature, the trees will improve comfort for users, absorb particulate pollutants, reduce stormwater runoff – and look beautiful.

“Trees usually come second to infrastructure such as footpaths, roads and car parks. But Inner West Council is determined to turn this thinking around,” Mr Pearson said.

“Council places significant value on trees. We recognise they are one of the most important natural assets in our highly urbanised environment.

“Trees provide significant environmental, economic and social benefits. They reduce heat, provide cooling and shading, produce oxygen, provide habitat for native fauna, birds and insects and enhance human health and wellbeing,” Mr Pearson said.

The project was designed and managed by a multi-disciplinary Council team, and demonstrates a new way of managing the conflicts between trees and infrastructure.

“This entire project highlights the need for well-planned cities to find new spaces for canopy trees, and provide them with the soil and space for long-term growth - instead of just planting them in the spaces ‘left over’ after development,” Mr Pearson said.

For print quality images of the plantings, contact the Communication team.

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