PATH TO 2027: Vision to preserve Valley's natural beauty
THERE is a saying that claims the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
During community listening posts held across the Clarence Valley last year, trees were a planning priority for Clarence Valley residents on the path to 2027.
Some of the suggestions put forward included planting more trees, increasing shade, educating people on the best trees to plant, and preserving native vegetation - feedback that has been implemented by Clarence Valley Council.
Council manages thousands of native and introduced species of trees across 1170 hectares of parks, sports fields and reserves, and council-managed streets.
Council's open spaces co-ordinator, David Sutton, said as the older stands of trees aged, removal and replacement was an ongoing endeavour, along with new planting.
Between 2015 and 2017 council planted more than 600 new trees across the region. The Jacaranda tree was the only non-native species planted.
Mr Sutton said the local character of a town centre was an important factor in determining the most appropriate species to plant.
"Inevitably there will be diverse views about native versus exotic trees, the use of locally-indigenous species, evergreen versus deciduous and so on,” Mr Sutton said. "It's about taking a balanced approach.”
Council is also rolling out new planting in suburban streets, which involves writing to residents asking if they want a tree planted in front of their house.
Mr Sutton said there had been an 80% take-up for new trees.
A tree map has also been created to better understand what trees are growing where and the current canopy cover in urban areas.
More than 7300 street trees in the Grafton region, including Junction Hill, have already been pinpointed on a map, with trees in Maclean, Yamba and Iluka being mapped this year.
Council's vision for trees in the valley is to preserve the natural features of the region and enhance the riverfronts and streetscape.
The vision was defined in the urban tree management policy that included a specific vision for Yamba streets, how tree management, replacement and new planting was managed,a list of preferred species to plant, and actions to combat tree vandalism.
Trees planted in the Clarence Valley in 2017: