The decision by the Development Assessment Commission (DAC) to defer further consideration of plans to remove 83 significant and regulated trees at Glenside Hospital, is a welcome reprieve, according to Mark Parnell MLC, Parliamentary Leader of the Greens SA.
Mr Parnell (who is also an environmental lawyer) represented local residents and Glenside tenants at the DAC hearing yesterday and urged DAC to reject or defer the tree removal application.
“This is a welcome reprieve for the Glenside trees, but they are still at risk.
“Clearly the DAC wasn’t satisfied with the developer’s rationale for needing to remove all the trees at this stage. The DAC wants more information about levels of contamination and plans for site remediation before considering the matter further. That is a good call.
“This is an important interim win for the trees and the community.
“My representation yesterday urged the DAC to reject the tree removal, or in the alternative, to defer the decision until detailed plans for housing had been lodged. The DAC has not gone as far as we asked, but this important reprieve gives the community time to put pressure on the State Government (as owner of the land) and the developer to incorporate more of these magnificent trees into their plans.
“I’m pleased the DAC has decided to seek more information because we knew the developer’s contamination claims were dodgy and not backed up by sound evidence. The developer claimed that widespread contamination was their main reason for needing to remove the trees.
“Removing soil from the entire site is a conveniently exaggerated response to a contamination problem that can be handled in other ways. The site is not a toxic wasteland and clearly the DAC wasn’t convinced either.
“We will now work with local residents to present further information to the DAC to save the trees. Until we know for sure that the apartments will actually be built, it is premature to remove any of these 83 trees (as well as the hundreds of others that aren’t legally protected).
“We know we can’t save them all, but surely it is possible to incorporate more trees into the final development? That would be good for the environment, for the community and for future residents of the site,” concluded Mr Parnell.