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Council asks community to help develop strategy to protect our ‘urban forest’

By May 26, 2023News, Trees

Orange City Council is asking residents to share what they value most about the city’s green spaces to help develop an ‘Urban Forest Strategy’ for the Orange local government area.

Council has appointed consultants Active Green Services to produce the strategy, which looks at all trees, plants and areas of greenery in the city, how best to protect them and what we should focus on in future.

Council’s Environmental Sustainability Policy Committee Chair David Mallard said Orange’s reputation as the Colour City plays a significant role in attracting tourism, businesses and residents to Orange.

Eucalypts at Orange Botanic Gardens.

“There is growing community understanding of the importance of trees, the natural environment and open space in the economic, cultural, physical and mental wellbeing of the community,” Cr Mallard said.

Council commissioned a study in 2022 to determine the extent of tree coverage over the region. The Orange urban area was found to have tree coverage of 17.3 per cent, while Lucknow village had coverage of 7 per cent and Spring Hill village had 4.9 per cent tree cover.

Cr Mallard said the next step was to develop a strategy that focused on protecting and enhancing our existing green spaces, and where to prioritise the planting of new trees and plants for the greatest benefit.

“The strategy will address elements such as streetscapes, parks and open spaces, tree preservation, biodiversity and habitat, the effects of climate change, reducing air pollution and maximising water sensitive urban design. The draft strategy will include a target for tree coverage,” Cr Mallard said.

“To make sure we get it right, we want as many people as possible to share their opinions to help us shape the plan’s vision, objectives and actions.”

Two face-to-face consultation sessions will be held at the Clover Hill Centre at Orange Botanic Gardens from 10am to noon and 5.30pm to 7pm on Wednesday 31 May for members of the public to drop in and chat about the strategy with representatives from Active Green Services, Councillors and Council staff.

The community can also have their say by completing an online survey and sharing their ideas on the YourSay Orange site.

Active Green Services representatives will also meet with the Parks, Trees and Waterways Community Committee and members of the local Indigenous community as part of the consultation process.

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