The NSW Heritage Council has given its approval for around 250 trees near the sites of the athletics track and main stadium to be removed. Orange City Council received the formal Section 60 Work Certificate approving the work on Friday last week.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd welcomed the news that the Heritage Council have backed the decision to remove the trees, which are predominately radiata pines.
“I’m delighted the Heritage Council have weighed up the potential heritage impact of removing this first round of trees against the benefits of a new sports precinct, and have decided to give the new proposal their support,” Cr Kidd said.
“They’ve had a very close look at the new landscape master plan for the sports precinct and they’ve seen how many more trees are going to be planted for this new project. Eventually there’ll be more trees than there are now.”
“When you look at the artist’s impressions of what someone will see as they drive towards the heritage hospital campus, I’m impressed by how many trees there will be. The proposed new grandstand will actually be built below the level of Forest Road so all but the bulk of it will be out of sight.”
The start of work on the first round of tree removals for the proposed new sports precinct is set to be delayed by recent heavy rains and the Sydney COVID lock-down.
“Now we have the approval, the people of Orange are keen for work to start as soon as possible, but the reality is we’re dealing with the COVID restrictions, not to mention the impact of weeks of wet weather,” Cr Kidd said.
“The specialist contractors will be using some heavy machinery that’s used in forestry operations. It removes the trunk and then takes out the roots. But because the ground is so sodden, there’s the prospect of equipment being bogged or not being able to move across the site efficiently.”
“The contractor will be looking at their timetable for other jobs, COVID arrangements and the weather forecast to work out when they can make a start. It’s expected to be at least a couple of weeks before the ground dries out enough to hold heavy machinery.”
Tuesday night’s Orange City Council meeting will be considering a report on a prospective timetable for the sports precinct project, which includes the remaining approval steps and when tenders could be called for to draft detailed design plans.