Another 24 of the spotted gums planted in Wollongong’s Crown St Mall have been chopped down by the city council after strong winds last week.
After several incidents with these trees Wollongong City Council now appears to be realising the wrong species may have been chosen for the location.
It will now go back and “review” which trees are best to plant in their place.
A council spokeswoman said “a number” of trees in the mall were damaged by the “extreme” winds.
The decision was made that many of the gums were too dangerous so 24 met their end at the hands of a chainsaw.
“The damaged trees were inspected by council arborists and were determined to be at risk of dislodging and potentially endangering pedestrians and property,” the spokeswoman said.
“Council is currently reviewing the growing conditions in the Mall prior to determining what replacement species will be planted.”
I think the whole thing was badly planned and is an absolute waste of money- Kevin Epps, Coalcliff
It is not clear whether growing conditions have changed since the trees were originally chosen as part of council’s $19.4 million mall refurbishment. Flame trees nearby are unharmed.
The gums had been criticised by some as a poor choice since they were planted in late 2013. But council defended them at the time, saying they were not a limb-dropping species.
Coalcliff resident Kevin Epps said the trees had been poorly thought through.
“I think the whole thing was badly planned and is an absolute waste of money,” he said. “People told them they were planting the wrong trees.
“It’s been several years now and they still haven’t provided any shelter above the you-beaut seats.
Mr Epps said it’s well known that the Mall is a “wind tunnel”, and the pink arches which once stood at the top helped protect against westerly winds. But they were removed in the refurbishment.
The spotted gums have had a checkered past. In 2013 some were attacked by vandals who ripped off branches. First temporary, then permanent, steel cages were erected to protect them.