Trees chopped for safety

TREES on the northern side of the Ralli Park recreational courts in Balaklava ‘got the chop’ on Monday due to the damage they were causing to court surfaces and amid safety concerns for the general public.

Wakefield Regional Council CEO, Andrew MacDonald said community groups connected with the Ralli Park precinct had raised concerns about safety risks and developing damage to the courts surface.

Council staff sought feedback from all court users and stakeholders, with the decision being unanimous across the clubs and committees to remove the trees for the safety and longevity of the courts and court users.

“On inspection, a couple of the trees on the eastern end of the shade had borers in the trees and the trunks had split,” Mr MacDonald said.

“The far eastern tree was a significant risk as it had split in half with one of the branches hanging over the grassed area where people sit.”

Advanced Sporting Surfaces, the company that looks after the courts and resurfaces them, raised concerns with the courts committee.

Tree roots were causing damage to the courts surface, which was causing premature wear and trip hazards.

“This damage was shortening the life expectancy of the court surface and increasing the costs of maintaining the surface to a satisfactory level”, Mr MacDonald said.

“We’re actively working on greening our townships with tree planting programs but unfortunately the removal of these particular trees was required to greatly improve the safety of the area and should save the community hundreds of thousands in court surface renewal.”