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AS many as 900 trees, including some of the city’s majestic elms, will be removed for construction of the Melbourne Metro Rail project.
Most trees will be lost around Parkville, Domain, near Fawkner Park and along St Kilda Rd.
Major construction on the $10.9 billion project is expected to start next year, creating noise, dust and disruption to parts of central Melbourne.
Metro Rail project reports show that 106 trees would be dug up for the construction of the Parkville station on Grattan St. Of those, 10 elms would be removed from Royal Parade and another 24 mature trees in Grattan St.
Melbourne council tree officers who assessed trees in the precinct found that most had a life expectancy of less than 20 years.
“It is submitted that during the final planning stage every option is exhausted to ensure the minimum amount of trees would require removal,’’ a council report said.
The Metro report identified another 223 trees to be removed from the Domain interchange site including mature plane trees on St Kilda Rd, Toorak Rd and within the Shrine of Remembrance Reserve.
A council report also found that as many as 55 trees would be removed from Tom’s Block, a patch of parkland bounded by St Kilda Rd and Linlithgow Ave, for the project’s ground stabilisation works.
Further trees losses are expected at the eastern portal in South Yarra (218), West Kensington (50), Arden (50), CBD North (40) and CBD South (24).
Elm trees on St Kilda Rd.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said he and council supported the Metro project but was concerned about the loss of trees and pledged to assess each potential removal “tree by tree”.
The Metro report said many trees were not native and that replanting would occur during the course of construction.
The report also identified three vulnerable or threatened species of wildlife — the Grey Goshawk, the Powerful Owl and the Grey Headed Flying Fox.
“As these species are highly mobile, the potential for Melbourne Metro to have any impact on them is very low,” the report said.
Also, the Grey Headed Flying Fox’s preferred food sources were the Moreton Bay figs in Fawkner Park which will not be removed.
Five new underground stations — Arden, Parkville, CBD North, CBD South and Domain — will be built in the twin 9km tunnels through central Melbourne.
Preliminary testing and site investigations have begun at several locations across the city.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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