Red cedar trees to be removed

An independent review of five red cedar trees along Smith Street, Kempsey has identified structural problems and a potential safety hazard.

Kempsey Shire Council sought an independent review on the health and lifespan of the five remaining trees, located in the northern section of Smith Street between Stuart Street and First Lane.

The report, presented at the February 2019 Council meeting, found that at least three of the trees had poor root formation, were at risk of falling and two others had damaged the kerb and gutter and lifted the footpath. It was also found that the growth of the trees’ root ball had been inhibited due to the small planting plots.

The meeting resolved for Council to remove the five existing trees and replace them with the same species in larger planting plots to continue the avenue of trees along Smith Street.

Council’s Director of Operations, Robert Fish, said every opportunity to salvage wood from the trees for community-based projects would be considered.

“A severe windstorm in 2017 resulted in three of the red cedar trees being uprooted, causing damage to nearby businesses and residences,” Mr Fish said.

“While the removal is unfortunate, it is necessary, particularly with the potential for further summer storms and other safety issues they pose if left in place.”

A contractor will be onsite in the coming weeks to remove the trees.

Following an assessment of the road, footpaths and kerb and guttering to determine if any upgrades are required, five new red cedar trees will be replanted.

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