By MICK ROBERTS.
THE destruction of almost 30 native trees from the southern end of Thomas Gibson Park at Thirroul had both Wollongong City Council and NSW Government approval.
Residential housing developer Stockland said the State Government approval, which was later signed off by Wollongong City Council, allowed it to remove the trees to build a shared pathway linking its nearby housing estate with Thirroul Railway Station.
Concern over the removal of the mainly Casuarina trees – one of several issues highlighted over the redevelopment of the park and nearby residential estate – was raised earlier this month.
Stockland has closed nearby Sturdee Avenue rail bridge at Bulli as part of the construction process for the McCauley’s Beach residential estate raising the ire of local residents.
Although a public road, Wollongong City Council said it was not its decision to cut vehicles access to the road.
“Council has been consulting with the community on future access to McCauley’s Beach Estate,” a spokesperson said.
As part of a master plan for Thomas Gibson Park a shared pathway circles the southern end.
Stockland is required to build a shared pathway that will link the new housing estate to a pathway in Thomas Gibson Park.
Stockland was also required to undertake and submit a plant survey as part of the approval, which includes consent to remove trees, mulching, and replanting.
The tree survey was noted and signed off by Council.
A spokesperson for Stockland told The Bulli Times that work was proceeding on the construction of a shared access pathway linking Wrexham Road with Thirroul Railway Station.
“This is part of the State Government approval for the project and the works have Council consent,” the spokesperson said.
“A survey identifying all trees and vegetation to be removed as part of the works has also been approved as part of the Council’s consent.”
Stockland said work will include removal of weeds and replacement of the 27 trees with more than 95 native trees, plus hundreds of seedlings, shrubs and ground covers.
Meanwhile Council is continuing on the upgrade of the northern end of Thomas Gibson Park.
The work is part of stage three of the park master plan near Station Street, and includes the construction of a car park, entrance, signage, tree planting and alignment of fencing to the railway.
Council said work on stage three has included the removal of several trees in the Station Street area. A number of tree plantings will go ahead shortly, a spokesperson said.
This stage of the works followed community consultation which included a website.