Cheryl Goodenough AUGUST 5 2019 – 12:30PM
ORMISTON: The application related to these blocks on Sturgeon Street at Ormiston.
DEVELOPERS will be able to clear a few remaining trees on two blocks at Ormiston after the council agreed to change habitat classification.
The 1.6 hectares at 42-44 and 46-48 Sturgeon Street has been earmarked for 59 units, with Azure Development Group lodging an application with the council in April.
Council officers told the developers in May that if any koala habitat trees remained in the area mapped as bushland habitat and were proposed to be removed, the habitat would need to be reclassified.
The developers applied for the koala habitat to be reclassified from bushland habitat to rehabilitation habitat.
Cr Tracey Huges said the land had been cleared previously and there was little koala habitat remaining.
Council officers said that tree clearing had been approved by the council in 2013 and 2016, based on arborist reports.
The officers said that past clearing meant the native vegetation was sparse and distributed randomly across the greater part of the site.
“Remaining native trees are scattered eucalypts, together with wattles and sheoak species and extensive grass cover, mostly exotic,” officers said. “Many of the remaining trees are juveniles and none have any significant general habitat values such as nesting hollows or extensive canopy cover.
“Over time the site has largely lost its historic habitat connectivity, with the greater habitat values being immediately adjacent along the arterial road verge to the east and to the south and west.”
Two of five non-juvenile koala habitat trees were proposed to be removed.
The officers said the site contained two species of eucalypts typical of koala usage. It was considered that the two varieties were not suitable alone to support koala habitat.
Mayor Karen Williams said the land met the state legislated definition of rehabilitation habitat, rather than bushland habitat.
In an emotional speech, Cr Lance Hewlett said that he was amazed the reclassification was being considered for land in the Ormiston koala safe neighbourhood.
Azure Development Group will plant 18 koala habitat trees on the western boundary of the site, which is zoned low-medium density residential. There are two houses on the blocks.