BLACKBURN & DISTRICT TREE PRESERVATION SOCIETY INC.
P.O. Box 5, Nunawading, 3131
23 August 2016
Tree Society Recommendations Regarding the Proposed Landscape Treatments at Blackburn and Heatherdale subsequent to the Level Crossing Removals Reference: Indigenous Gardening in Whitehorse General
The landscaping and re-planting projects following the level crossing removal (LXR) works must achieve the following objectives:
The newly-created landscape (including the plantscape) must approximate the character of the original landscape for each of the sites (see individual site details following)
The plant species chosen must be relevant to the original character of the sites in terms of form, landscape function, positive impact and numbers.
The plants used must be suited to local environmental conditions, without weed potential or possibility of hybridizing with indigenous plants, readily available, resistant to the effects of climate change and of low maintenance. Consultation with Whitehorse council staff including the ParksWide Open Space Coordinator and Nursery Manager would be of relevance in accomplishing this objective
The negative impacts of the proposed hard landscaping, particularly at Heatherdale and Blackburn railway stations and immediate environs, must be ameliorated by clever, cost-effective landscape design initiatives to ‘soften’ these sites.
Examples would include:
Installing planter boxes planted with low-growing perennials
Hedging using suitable plant species e.g. Callistemons (Bottlebrushes), Westringias, Grevilleas etc.
Planting small trees/large shrubs in ‘gap’ gardens within the hard surfacing e.g. small eucalypts, Blackwood, Lightwood, Allocasuarinalittoralis, Golden Wattle, larger Callistemons etc.
Evergreen creeper plantings on mesh fences, pergolas and other built structures e.g. Clematis, Hardenbergia, Pandorea, Kennedia etc.
Creation of vertical gardens on existing built structures.
The plantscape must not contain species that are detrimental to the health and quality of existing/retained plants and landscapes in the vicinity of the project works area including the remnant vegetation contained therein. Two examples of this threat to the local vegetation would be the use of plants with known weed potential and plant species that may hybridise with indigenous vegetation close by e.g. within Blackburn Lake Sanctuary, Morton Park, Brunswick Road Reserve and the Seventh Day Adventist land.
NB please note that not all suggested plant species are indigenous to Whitehorse. Specific:
Blackburn Station Gardens
In terms of tree and vegetation losses and based on the latest information from the BLXRA (report released 24 May 2016), there will be a total of ~250 trees and shrubs removed from this site to make way for the LXR and associated works. This includes 36 specimens numbered from 895 to 932 that were removed in the last week of May and a further 210 that were slated for removal subject to further assessment by the authority. The LXRA, according to the document - Revised Blackburn Level Crossing Removal Project: update on the tree management for the Blackburn Tree Preservation Society (24 May 2016), promised to report on the fate of these trees (numbered 701 to 894 and 933 to 955) to the Tree Society by the end of June 2016.
The report has not been forwarded to the tree society as of 22 August 2016.
Tree and shrub species that existed in the station gardens and should be used in future plantings at this site to satisfy Objectives 1, 2 and 4 (see ‘General’ section previously) include:
This was a quiet, shaded space with trees and low-growing indigenous plants in border gardens. Only one tree remains. Small trees and indigenous shrubs and low-growing plants need to be re-planted at this site. Small tree/large shrub species would include Blackwoods, Lightwoods, Allocasuarinas and Callistemons .
Northern Aspect of the Tennis Courts
Replace the avenue of trees that have been removed by dense plantings of evergreen Blackwoods to screen the ugly views of factory walls to the north. Along both paths (?) install linear garden beds incorporating low shrubs, groundcovers, grasses and tufties (ideally indigenous – refer Indigenous Gardening in Whitehorse booklet).
Replace the avenue of trees that have been removed by dense plantings of evergreen Blackwoods to compensate for the stark loss of landscape character following removal of the Cypress Trees and also to screen the ugly views of factory walls to the north. Other suitable species here would be Lightwoods or Casuarinas.
Offset plantings within Morton Park must be indigenous. This will compliment the existing vegetation. The tree species must be predominantly eucalypts including specimens of the nine Eucalypt species listed in the Indigenous Gardening in Whitehorse booklet. The eucalypts (upwards of 100 or so) should be planted in mulched beds along with suitable indigenous understory plants (another 1,000-2,000 specimens).
Landscape Treatments and Plantings along Glen Ebor, Oliver and Cromwell
The main issues for this section relate to loss of landscape character and amenity (visual, security, sound, overlooking etc.) for residents following the removal of trees and shrubs along the rail reserve and compulsory requirement for residents’ trees to be removed from their back gardens.
Strategies to ameliorate these losses include:
Initiate a program of replacement planting of trees removed from back gardens and the rail reserve using smaller species of trees and shrubs that won’t interfere with rail cutting works. The Whitehorse council street tree policy and preferred species could be used as a guide because most of these species are compact and cause little or no damage to surrounding infrastructure and are low maintenance. The trees chosen would be evergreen or deciduous depending on individual resident preference e.g. some residents would prefer deciduous trees on their northern borders to maximize the effects of winter sunshine. Obviously no weed species would be planted
Install high back garden fences of open mesh to facilitate the growth of evergreen creepers to improve visual amenity.
Plant hedging plants along the fence-line in the rail reserve or inside residents’ properties to improve amenity and landscape character of the sites. Suitable tall hedging plant species include the Callistemons (Bottlebrushes)
Plant using ‘succession planting’ techniques e.g. plant fast- and slower-growing plants concurrently and remove the faster growing plants once the (preferred) slower growing plants have improved the landscape character of the site. Examples of fast-growing but short-lived plant species include Black Wattle, Golden Spray (Viminaria juncea), Silver Wattle, Showy Daisy-bush, Hop Goodenia and Myrtle Wattle.
Seventh Day Adventist land adjacent to the Rail Reserve
Tree replacement plantings within the Seventh Day Adventist land must be indigenous and ideally the propagation material (i.e. seed) should be sourced from the rare and endangered remnant Valley Heathy Forest within the three Conservation Areas on site. This will compliment the existing vegetation. The tree species must be predominantly eucalypts including specimens of the nine Eucalypt species listed in the Indigenous Gardening in Whitehorse booklet. The eucalypts should be planted in beds along with suitable indigenous understory plants.
Heatherdale Level Crossing Removal Project (with particular reference to the Brunswick Road Reserve)
The Brunswick Road Reserve contains valuable remnant Eucalypts and Blackwoods in addition to important indigenous understorey species including native grasses.
The Reserve lends itself to an offset planting program.
150 mature trees (many indigenous eucalypts) have been removed between Mitcham and Heatherdale Roads to make way for the level crossing removal and shared use path construction.
To ameliorate this loss 300+ indigenous trees (propagated from local seed) should be planted in the Brunswick Road Reserve as part of the offset planting program to compliment the existing vegetation. The tree species must be predominantly eucalypts including specimens of the nine Eucalypt species listed in the Indigenous Gardening in Whitehorse booklet. The eucalypts should be planted along with suitable indigenous understory plants.
Offset Planting in Nunawading Parklands (aka Junction Road Parklands) in Nunawading North
The Tree Society supports the off-set planting of a diversity of indigenous plant species within this ‘greenfield’ site to help compensate for the tree and canopy losses caused by the level crossing removal projects and shared use path construction from Laburnum through to Heatherdale.
A ratio of three trees planted in the parklands for each tree removed from the works’ sites (and not replaced locally by a similar number of trees) would be a useful guide for the tree numbers required.
Blackburn & District Tree Preservation Society Inc.
23 August 2016
Tree Society Recommendations Regarding the Proposed Landscape Treatments at Blackburn and Heatherdale Subsequent to the Level Crossing Removals August 2016