Moreland Leader: Urban Forest Group urges Moreland Station moved south

Moreland leader again features coverage of the level Crossing removal with the story that 113 trees will be axed, with local group, the Upfield Urban Forest, calling for the new elevated Moreland Station to move further south so that more trees can be retained.

A second story inside the papers covers the protest on Bell Street and Moreland Road on 10 September calling for better cycling solutions at the main road crossings and congestion points and conflict zones, and pedestrian ramps for passengers to the new elevated stations from the north side of Bell Street, south side of Moreland Road.

According to the Moreland Leader report, Upfield Urban Forest member Tamar Hopkins slammed the plan and said the LXRP needed to work around the trees.

The Upfield Urban Forest submission asked for the new Moreland station to be moved south away from the heritage-listed current station and away from trees.

“It’s a really significant part of the history of the area,” Ms Hopkins said.

In an article on the Upfield Urban Forest websiste the group says:

Putting the station above and to the south of Moreland road would mean way less trees being destroyed plus lots of advantages in terms of access and safety. There is no evidence from the permit application by LXRP that it has seriously considered this option

  • LXRP are only planning to retain just 18 of 128 trees – this is an outrage
  • The heritage value of the station is greatly enhanced by the mature trees in the park
  • Gandolfo Park itself has a huge heritage value as it came into being in 1911 by community action, was established via community action and right up to today is cared for by community action. Destroying the park will seriously diminish its heritage value
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Local climate action group Climate Action Moreland has also put in a submission: Retaining trees as heritage and to moderate heat in Gandolfo Gardens with Skyrail construction.

John Englart, the Convenor of Climate Action Moreland highlighted the plight of the two Sugar gums thought to be part of the original community planting in 1911 in the east Reserve slated for axing.

“LXRP fails to provide any rationale for destroying these trees, rather than modifying work practices to preserve these two trees in their work. These two trees are significant as they are most likely part of the original 250 trees planted by the community in 1911. They are part of the historical, cultural and environmental significance to the local community in the Upfield Line corridor, as significant as the rail infrastructure being preserved as heritage.”

He also argued in his submission:

While LXRP say that “new plants and trees will be incorporated into the reserves”, new plantings do not replace the substantial environmental loss of mature trees, many of them 50 years plus in age, which harbour a broad diversity of species. It will take decades to re-establish such biodiversity and re-establish the canopy shade so important for this area in summer in offering some mitigation of the urban heat island effect in a highly urbanised area.

I understand that some mature trees may need to be removed given the nature of the work, but LXRP have failed to come up with detailed plans to minimise tree destruction. Alternative siting of Moreland Station either to the south of Moreland Road, over Moreland Road, or immediately adjacent and to the north of Moreland road have all been put forward as possibilities to reduce tree destruction and enhance pedestrian accessibility, but LXRP have refused to provide public reasons or costings why each of these solutions could not be employed.

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