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ST KILDA RD’S famous tree-lined boulevard may not be returned to its former glory for decades, with 165 trees facing the chop to make way for the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Tunnel.
Although trees will be replanted, it can be revealed some will not grow to full height for up to 50 years.
It comes as St Kilda Rd residents have been offered earplugs and movie tickets to compensate for disruptive construction works.
Although trees will be replanted, it can be revealed some will not grow to full height for up to 50 years. Picture: Mark StewartThe Melbourne Metro Authority has committed to planting two trees for every one removed on the boulevard.
But many of the trees are elms, which can take between 40 and 50 years to grow to maturity.
The new trees will be grown in an off-site nursery and be around five years old and up to 5m high when replanted.
Thirteen trees were removed earlier this month and it is likely around 150 more along the road will be removed as part of the Metro Tunnel works. The Save St Kilda Rd group says the government could have saved most of the trees by digging a deeper rail tunnel to avoid damage along the tree-lined road.
Marilyn Wane, organiser of the group, said it was possible to build the rail line and new Domain station “without impacting on half of Melbourne”.
“We are not against the station. We just want them to build it in a sensible way,” she said. “If Domain station was built 30-40m below the ground rather than via the shallow ‘cut-and-cover’ method, very little disruption at surface level would be necessary.
“The traffic could continue to flow, the trams and buses would continue to run and the destruction of the heritage-listed boulevard would be unnecessary.”
Thirteen trees along St Kilda Rd were removed earlier this month. Picture: Sarah MatrayLocals are growing increasingly fed up with the disruption caused by the project. Included as “off-site mitigation measures” are free earplugs and “respite offers” such as pre-purchased movie tickets.
Improved window glazing “or other appropriate acoustic treatment”, as well as alternative accommodation may also be offered by the MMRA.
An MMRA spokesman said it was working hard to mitigate noise impacts on Domain residents. “We meet regularly with local residents and notify them of upcoming works so they are aware of what we are doing and can plan accordingly,” the spokesman said.
“For a project of this scale some tree removal is unavoidable however we will plant at least two trees of the same species for every one we remove.”
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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