Extra 50 trees mooted for Lorne Street reserve near Merri Creek

Moreland Council will consider a report for an extra 50 trees to be planted in the reserve at the end of Lorne Street, in Fawkner at the Council Meeting on Wednesday 11 March, 2020.

During 2015 Moreland Council supported the ‘Move the House‘ project. This involved Council supplying and assisting with the planting of 103 Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) trees on Council land at the end of Lorne Street, Fawkner, for the centennial celebration of the Gallipoli Landing during the first World War.

A meeting held on Tuesday 25 February 2020, between Council officers, the Mayor, Cr
Lambros Tapinos, Kelvin Thomson, former Federal Member for Wills and Alan Yildiz, the lead for the project, formulated that an extra 50 trees be planted and install 150 plaques with names of the fallen soldiers that the trees are planted to commemorate.

According to the Council report, the origins of the Move the House project derive from Australia’s relationship with Turkey and a story about Ataturk, Turkey’s first president:

“The Move the House initiative aimed to celebrate the relationship between Australia and Turkey, formed years later between Prime Minister of Australia, Stanley Melbourne Bruce and the first Turkish President, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

“The project title came from the remarks made by Atatürk in 1929, which illustrated his love and passion for the environment. Turkish workers in the city of Yalova asked for Atatürk’s permission to cut the limb of an old oak tree because it was beginning to damage the walls of his residence.

“Atatürk refused to harm the tree, and instead insisted, “Move the House”, ordering for the house to be moved instead of the tree.

The officer recommendation to Council is:

That Council:
1.
Approves the planting of 50 additional trees in Lorne Street Reserve, Fawkner, and provides assistance for site preparation and initial watering, subject to confirmation of no planning overlay restrictions and written support from the:
• Wurundjeri Council;
• Fawkner RSL;
• Merri Creek Management Committee.

2. Considers how the use of the site in Lorne Street, Fawkner fits into to the broader open space activation plan scheduled to be completed 2020/21 financial year, and
whether the further development of this area as a memorial area is consistent with the
activation plan.

3. Following finalisation of the broader open space activation plan, receives a report on the proposal to place plaques naming fallen soldiers at all trees.

Sustainable Fawkner has one query to Council: given Yellow Box trees have already been planted, it would surely make far more sense planting a variety of other trees to enhance the tree species diversity, resilience and habitats in this reserve. We don’t think there is any conflict between having an increased diversity of tree species and use of this area as a memorial with memorial plaques.

We highlight this need as stated in the Moreland Council Urban Forest Strategy 2017-2027 (PDF) which states on page 33:

“To minimise the potential for tree loss through issues of pest, disease, drought, heat, flood etc. diversity within the urban forest is paramount to its survival, longevity and succession. It is generally accepted that the greater the diversity, the lower the risk. Street tree and biological diversity can be achieved through species selection, stock provenance, maturity, and rates of growth.”

Tree diversity planting benchmarks, unfortunately, only apply to street trees and not park trees in this policy. Yet, parkland trees play an important role in nurturing habitat for urban wildlife, especially near the creek corridor where these trees will be planted on the Reserve.

We also refer to the Moreland Council Open Space Strategy 2012-2022 (PDF) Principles which states on Page 18:

“Increasing biodiversity throughout the municipality, including the public realm, through more intensive and appropriate landscaping to create habitat corridors, where possible.”

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