Moreland Council has shared its “extreme disappointment” over the removal of two significant River Red Gums along Bain Avenue, as part of the car park upgrade at Merlynston Train Station.

The Department of Transport proposed a number of changes at Merlynston Train Station in Coburg North, as part of the Victorian Government’s Car Parks for Commuters program.

The Victorian Government proposed to seal and extend the gravel car park, and will include CCTV, lighting and additional bicycle parking facilities. The design required the removal of several mature trees and a community garden located within the rail reserve.

Moreland Council Mayor, Mark Riley, expressed disappointment to the Department of Transport that the upgraded car park would come at the cost of important mature trees and a community garden.

“Council has a goal of reaching 30 per cent tree canopy across Moreland by 2050. These proposed works will expand the car park by about 50 per cent at the expense of mature trees and other saplings planted by the community,” Mayor Riley said.

“Trees play an important role in reducing the impacts of the urban heat island effect by providing shade and canopy cover. It is particularly sad to see these trees removed to support more cars.

“I invite the Victorian Government to work in partnership with Council to explore alternative designs that will better meet the needs of our diverse local community, and contribute towards Council’s goal of sustainable transport that is active or has zero emissions.

“I join many community members in feeling anger that these significant trees have been destroyed. We have lost valuable canopy cover that will take decades to replace and to make matters worse, the cooling trees are being replaced with impermeable infrastructure that will add to the urban heat island in this neighbourhood.

“We join the concerns of our community, who lobbied the State Government for the protection of these River Red Gums. We have shared our concerns with the Level Crossings Removal Project numerous times, with Council Officers actively working to provide design alternatives that would see the trees remain, at the cost of only a small number of car parks.

“Unfortunately these attempts have been ignored and the result is the removal of very valuable trees that were landmarks of the local area.”

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