Independent experts have assessed the health and stability of two large trees on the Yarra riverbank at Alphington. The trees are located on land owned by Glenvill, who are redeveloping the former Alphington paper mill site.
Recent slumping of the riverbank has caused concerns that the trees could be at risk of falling into the river, after two other trees fell in January and May this year.
A panel of independent experts (including an arborist, geotechnical engineer, geo-morphologist and ecologist) convened by consultants Alluvium on behalf of Yarra City Council assessed the site, and reviewed arborist and geotechnical reports submitted by Glenvill as well as Yarra Council’s own arborists.
The independent assessment concluded that one tree is at risk of falling and should be removed to reduce the risk to the public and further riverbank damage. The assessment also found that the second tree should be retained and monitored regularly to assess any changes to its condition.
As the at-risk tree is not considered to be an immediate risk, Glenvill will be required to apply for a planning permit for the removal of the tree. However, at its public meeting on 30 July 2019, Council also requested that alternative options for retaining the at-risk tree be assessed before a permit to remove the tree is considered.
Expert advice is that, should the at-risk tree be removed, the stump and root ball would be retained to reduce damage to the riverbank and provide ongoing stability to the soil.
Council has also requested Glenvill explore options for providing alternative public access to the riverbank.
Our first priority is to ensure the safety of the community, and to minimise any further damage to the riverbank. We will continue to monitor the condition and safety of the trees.
Further independent investigations into the underlying cause of the riverbank slumping are continuing, with another report addressing these matters expected to be tabled at a council meeting in the coming weeks.
Council resolution 30 July 2019, Item 13.1
a) notes the contents of this report;
b) notes that the Alluvium report has been provided to Glenvill and Melbourne Water;
c) notes the contents of Alluvium’s report of 29 July 2019 and instructs Officers to advise Glenvill that a planning permit will be required in order to remove Tree 1;
d) requests that prior to a planning permit being granted to remove Tree T1:
i. an assessment be conducted by Alluvium for an alternative solution that will enable preservation of the tree; and
ii. such assessment be presented to the next Council meeting;
e) instructs Officers to ensure that weekly monitoring of the slump area and trees occurs to determine if conditions change and increase the likelihood of trees falling;
f) notes that Officers will provide a further report to Council, based on expert advice, on the cause of the slumping of the river bank, and any remediation works that could be considered to prevent further deterioration of the river bank and/or further loss of trees in this area; and
g) officers approach Glenville regarding the provision of alternate continuous access for the community along the river front and report back to council on their response.