Kew Cottages Coalition,
PO Box 2317
Vic 3101
5th January 2004

The Hon. Mary Delahunty
Minister For Planning,
GPO Box 2797Y
Victoria 3001

Fax: (03) 9637 8921

Dear Minister,

Re: Urgent Action Required - Kew Cottages:

Protection of Significant Trees & Landscape elements

I write to you in your capacity as the Responsible Planning Authority for the above site, as identified in the Boroondara Planning Scheme Amendment C53, Gazetted on 13th November 2003.

The Kew Cottages Coalition is concerned to note that approximately fifty metres (50m) of the Cottages’ fencing on the north east boundary with Hutchinson Drive has recently been demolished, and heavy vehicles appear to have been driven in and/or out of the opening. As a consequence the oldest of the River Red Gums identified in the Vegetation Protection Overlay for the Kew Cottages site is in our submission now seriously at risk of damage.

Red Gums of this size, and age are extremely rare in Melbourne. The latter tree is one of eight on the eastern boundary. It is considered to be between 300 and 500 years old, and requires special protection measures to be implemented to safeguard both the tree canopy itself, and its extensive root system.

It is listed by your Landscape Architects John Patrick as requiring an appropriately fenced tree protection zone of 17 metres radius, and yet it currently has no protective fencing whatsoever, despite the fact that the trunk is within five (5) metres of the opening created by the newly demolished boundary fence.

As the Responsible Planning Authority we, therefore, request that you please act immediately to:

  1. Have the tree appropriately examined for damage, and direct that any necessary remedial work be undertaken as a matter of urgency.
  2. Ensure that both the demolished boundary fence is carefully replaced, and that additional protective fencing for these trees and associated areas is installed in accordance with your consultants’ recommendations (see attached.)
  3. Explain why the work undertaken to date has not been in accord with the mitigation measures recommended by the Biosys Research Report (p.23), and John Patrick Report ("Tree Identification and Retention") ?
  4. Provide an undertaking that all future work will, at a minimum, proceed in accord with the latter consultants’ recommendations.
  5. Investigate and explain to interested parties, including all residents, and their representatives, Boroondara Council, the Kew Cottages Parents Association, The Public Advocate, and ourselves, the specific measures that will be taken to give effect to the latter undertaking.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you need any further information.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Walsh

Kew Cottages Coalition

Encs. Extracts of VicUrban Consultants’ Reports.