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Fed-up Stonnington Council plans bond to save trees

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Owners or developers may be asked to pay cash as security for failing to protect trees across Stonnington.

Photo: Justin McManus

A Melbourne council is so frustrated by developers and property owners felling or damaging trees without permission that it plans to introduce tree bonds next year.

The council says high levels of redevelopment in Stonnington have led to a loss of established tree canopy across the well-to-do suburbs in its area.

"There are just too many significant, mature trees in the inner city that are being lost, so we want to provide more of a guarantee that they will be protected and preserved where agreed upon," Stonnington mayor Steve Stefanopoulos said.

Sometimes residents found a tree a nuisance and felled it overnight without a permit, Cr Stefanopoulos said. Sometimes trees were damaged during development work, despite permits requiring them to be preserved. And sometimes a developer "moonscaped" a site – removing every stick of vegetation to make it easier to develop – and accepted the fine as a price of doing business.

In response, Stonnington City Council – which covers Toorak, Kooyong, South Yarra, Windsor, Prahran, Armadale, Malvern, Malvern East and Glen Iris – has proposed that before a development plan is approved, the owner or developer be required to pay money as security for failing to protect trees or ensure satisfactory landscaping works.

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