Ballarat City Council has adopted the Urban Forest Action Plan (2019) at its March 13 meeting.
The plan provides a long-term strategy to both improve urban tree cover and maintain Ballarat’s existing trees.
It also considers the 217 submissions made during the consultation of both the Urban Forest Discussion Paper (2017) and the Draft Urban Forest Action Plan (2019) and addresses key community concerns.
Key objectives of the Urban Forest Action Plan include:
- Plant more trees and work with the community to more than double Ballarat’s canopy coverage to 40 per cent
- Support the management and rehabilitation of a network of living corridors across Ballarat.
Community feedback focused on the following key points:
- The need for increased tree planting now
- A desire to include food trees within public spaces and to educate the community on their benefits, with a key plan objective being a food tree trial
- Clear communication with the community
- Impacts on surrounding infrastructure, particularly by powerlines on street trees planted underneath
The Urban Forest Action Plan also highlights the significant social benefits associated with increased tree plantings, particularly within areas of low socio-economic communities.
A healthy, thriving Urban Forest also provides multiple environmental benefits such as reduced air pollution, cooling through shade, wildlife habitat provision and stormwater retention.
The action plan also advocates for the need to establish a complete tree inventory which includes tree health, age and useful life expectancy. This information will help identify and mitigate impacts from those trees most at risk of causing damage.