Inner west councils demand Cooks River trees be saved

Inner West Council is working with other stakeholders to save up to 800 trees that have been tagged for possible removal by energy companies.
The trees are along what is known as the Cooks River Pipeline Easement – which follows two underground pipelines.

One is used by Viva Energy Australia to pump jet fuel from Clyde Terminal to Sydney Airport. The second is used by Caltex Australia to transport fuel between storage terminals at Kurnell, Banksmeadow, Silverwater and Newcastle.

The tagged trees – mainly Moreton Bay figs, eucalypts, and casuarinas – begin in Inner West Council's Kendrick Park, Tempe, and continue to near Strathfield golf course.

Inner West Council Administrator Richard Pearson said that the trees are considered an essential asset to the Cooks River.

"These trees help to define the foreshore area and the community quite rightly places significant value on these trees," he said.

Inner West Council representatives have joined with other councils who share a boundary with the easement, to form a collective response.

The councils have written to NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Lands and Water Niall Blair, and Caltex Managing Director and CEO Julian Segal.

A meeting was held with Caltex representatives earlier this week to reinforce Council's strong objection to the trees removal.

"We were heartened to see that Caltex appears to be listening to our concerns," said Mr Pearson.

"Unfortunately the first we knew of these plans was when a community member notified us of mysterious metal tags appearing on hundreds of trees.

"We are insisting that they consult with all affected councils and we are calling for all necessary assessments to be undertaken that measure the actual impacts the trees are having on the pipelines – not just assumptions made on tree and soil types.

"We are also saying that this process must abide by all environmental laws such as the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

"Council has invested so much time and money to rehabilitate and improve this Cooks River corridor, any tree removal should be the absolute last option available to us."

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Page last updated: 15 Nov 2018