Inner West Independent

Communication fell with trees at Callan Park

Friends of Callan Park do not want the trees to be a political issue. Photo: Friends of Callan Park

By BRIANNAH DEVLIN

Residents were appalled and saddened to learn that on the 26th of February, 10 trees were felled at Callan Park’s Glover Street Oval for what the Inner West Council justifies as for “sports fields.”

In their 2021 announcements, Inner West Council wrote online that 10 trees were removed from leased land “as part of a bushcare program which aims to regenerate the area with appropriate species”.

The statement continued that the community was informed about the removal and was “carried out in accordance with Council normal tree removal processes.”

But not everyone agreed.

“There’s tremendous sensitivity about removal of trees, particularly on public space,” Inner West Councillor John Stamolis said.

Mr. Stamolis told the Inner West Independent how the issue was not brought to his attention via council chambers.

“I heard through a resident,” he said.

“If a resident had never informed councillors, we would not even know this was happening. And it certainly does not give any level of confidence to our community. But the problem lies in the fact that we need to be informed early.”

Lack of communication

A representative from the Friends of Callan Park, who has requested to stay anonymous, said that there needs to be “prior written notice to the nearby community and an opportunity for community consultation to the wider community.”

“Any proposed changes to the built, landscape or botanicals require at the very least a detailed photographic record, a careful environmental & biodiversity assessment,” they continued.

“Callan Park has long been acknowledged as the lungs of the Inner West.”

They added that no opportunity for the community to ask to troubleshoot a potential solution is “surprising and most disappointing.”

“On site workmen and Inner West Council staff said that branches of trees behind the goalposts and outside the oval footprint were obstructing the goalposts.”

“The lack of communication of council between councillors and the organisation means things like this are going to slip through,” Mr. Stamolis added.

The Friends of Callan Park representative also mentioned how the community appreciates trees, and how that appreciation has increased within the last year.

“During Covid, Callan Park has been vital to residents’ physical and mental well being, every Callan Park tree is critical and contributes to carbon reduction,” they said.

The council statement on the felling continued to outline that “because the trees were not on Council land, Council is currently investigating whether there were any gaps in the approvals process.”

However, the council website says that they only manage the Glover Street Oval and Balmain Road sporting grounds in the heritage park. Other areas are managed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

It has been revealed the trees were “ listed weed species” with nine of those trees being Coral trees, and the other being a Date palm.

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