Councillor Eva Campbell has accused Camden Council of a “giant stuff up” after it allowed a property owner to cut down three large Cumberland Plain Woodland trees to make way for an entry gate and proposed fence.
Cr Campbell said the owner of the Leppington property had permission to remove three trees, but because they weren’t marked, it is alleged the wrong trees were cut down.
“It’s a complete balls-up that has seen the unnecessary removal of three magnificent, healthy trees,” she said.
Cr Campbell said the council stipulated the trees be replaced with tubestock, or young plants, “but how many generations will it be before these twigs are the equivalent of the trees that were removed?’’.
A council spokeswoman said the landowner was not required to mark the trees.
Council officers inspected the site and were investigating whether the tree removal was in accordance with the terms of the approval, she said.
Cr Campbell said: “My concern is that this has happened before ... and I have asked why we keep making these inane errors of judgment ... that result in a giant stuff up.
“We are talking about an endangered ecological community.”
Cr Campbell said the tree removal application should have been assessed at the same time as the application for a gate.
‘‘Surely an application for gates must raise questions about a potential fence. When the trees were wood chipped, the application for a fence had not even been submitted,’’ she said.
‘‘It is offensive to argue that the first tree had to go because the gates were already approved.
‘‘Then, that the other trees were in the way of a fence that apparently no one had even taken the time to ask about when the gates were approved.
‘‘If the applicant only wanted gates then the gates could have been positioned to save the tree. If the application was about gates and a fence, then the environmental consequences needed be considered at the same time.
‘‘Focussing on churning out fast approvals without thoughtful consideration of big picture outcomes is increasingly resulting in mistakes.’’
The property owner could not be contacted for comment.