Council demands Cooks River trees be saved from destruction
Friday 19 February 2021
Inner West Council is leading the fight to save up to 1,000 trees along the Cooks River foreshore from destruction by two multinational companies.
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said the trees are being threatened as the result of plans by Ampol Australia and Viva Energy to clear vegetation up to eight metres from oil pipelines that run along the Cooks River corridor.
“The large-scale loss of trees in the Cooks River corridor would be a local environmental disaster,” said Mayor Byrne.
“In a dense urban area like the Inner West, tree canopy is precious. The wholesale loss of trees along the river would have a massive impact on local biodiversity as well as local temperatures.
“In last year’s budget, we made a commitment to invest $5 million in tree plantings across the Inner West - the largest investment in green infrastructure in our history. But this would be cancelled out were the Cooks River corridor be denuded of vegetation.
“To have multinational companies swooping in and threatening to cut down trees along one of our most important natural space is unacceptable," Mayor Byrne said.
Council voted unanimously to write to the Chief Executive Officers of Ampol Australia and Viva Energy seeking that all vegetation clearing works along the Cooks River foreshore cease until adequate consultation with river stakeholders is undertaken.
Council wants a Vegetation Management Plan to be negotiated with each riverside Council to guide future vegetation management activities.
The relevant Councils are Inner West, Bayside, Strathfield and Canterbury Bankstown.
The Mudcrabs is a local community group which cares for the Cooks River and its foreshore environment by regularly collecting rubbish and restoring the bush along the Cooks River.
Peter Munro from The Mudcrabs said, “In 2016 the pipeline management tagged over 900 mature trees along the Cooks River corridor for potential removal. It was only after a major campaign by the community, with assistance from Inner West Council and State and Federal MPs that the petroleum company gave an undertaking that no trees would be removed without consultation.
“Why does the community have to fight this battle every few years? Let’s have this issue resolved permanently. The Cooks River green corridor is an environmental jewel, highly valued by the community.”
Peter added that The Mudcrabs and the Cooks River Valley Association, through Summer Hill MP Jo Haylen, has called on the New South Wales Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean to intervene and help protect the Cooks River foreshore.
For media enquiries, please contact Elizabeth Heath, Media and Communications Coordinator, on 9392 5334 or Elizabeth.Heath@innerwest.nsw.gov.au