Orange City Council is working on finalising the areas where around 250 trees can be removed from the site of a proposed new sports precinct.
The Council meeting on Monday night decided, by a ten votes to one margin, to remove the trees from two areas of the site: in the vicinity of the proposed new stadium and the athletics track.
The NSW Heritage Council had earlier supported removing trees in the two areas of the precinct, and has asked Council for a Landscaping Master Plan for the whole site before considering the removal of trees on other parts of the site.
Council staff will now make contact with the Heritage Council to apply for the ‘Section 60 Work Certificate’, which will finalise the boundaries of the two areas. By the end of the week, it‘s expected Council will also supply a Landscape Master Plan for the whole site. The plan will detail where trees will be removed and where even more trees will be planted.
Orange Mayor Cr Reg Kidd said he was looking forward to work starting on-site.
“I was very impressed with the quality of the debate from community speakers at Monday night’s meeting,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “People, both for and against, put a lot of time into preparing their remarks and it was important for the councillors to hear the depth of community feeling in a balanced and thoughtful debate.”
“From the local reaction I’ve seen since Monday, it’s clear to me that the Orange community has welcomed the decision and they’re looking forward to Council getting on with the work.
“Once staff have clarified the areas where the first round of tree removal can happen, it will be up to the specialist contractors to look at their schedule and work out when they can make a start.
Because they are based on the Blue Mountains, we currently looking at a COVID-related delay.”
Orange City Council’s Sport & Recreation Committee chair Cr Jason Hamling has outlined how the next steps in gaining planning approval for the sports precinct will play out.
“I know people are very keen to see work beginning, but with a project of this scale there are still a number of planning approvals to be gained, and residents will need to be patient,” Cr Hamling said.
“A number of speakers on the night asked when the proposed sports precinct will be considered by the Western Regional Planning Panel. It’s now looking like the DA proposing the removal of the rest of trees will be bundled together with the concept plans in a Development Application (DA) for the overall sports precinct.
“It’s expected that DA will be lodged in mid-July, go on public exhibition for 28 days and then be submitted to the Western Regional Planning Panel later in the year. The community will have yet another opportunity to comment on those plans, before the Panel has the final say.
“While the Panel will have the final say, the next Council that’s elected in September will be able to consider the next round of feedback from the community and indicate its support to the Planning Panel.
“Because that’s happening after the September election, that would let the sports precinct become an issue the people of Orange might keep in mind when they were choosing a candidate.”
A copy of the Notice of Approval for the tree removal (DA 464/2020(1)) adopted by Council on 28 June 2021, can be found here.