Spend grant funding on trees says Barossa councillor

Cr David Haebich at Bilyara Road, Tanunda where trees have been replaced.

A Barossa councillor is calling for “a decent” tree planting programme for the Council area, saying trees and native bush in the district have suffered.

Cr. David Haebich raised his concerns in the chambers last week when Council sought approval on where $1 million grant funding for drought communities should be spent.

While backing part of the proposed projects, Cr Haebich saw the funding as an opportunity to increase tree planting.

“Due to their age and lack of water there’s a lot that need replacing,” said Cr Haebich.

“Sometimes we lack sufficient trees altogether with parks and gardens requiring ongoing maintenance… a positive step would be to replace a lot of these trees and plant more.”

Speaking to The Leader last week, Cr Haebich said trees are very important, particularly when it comes to drought relief and said many have suffered.

“If they are dead, they have to be replaced and by the time it takes for them to mature  you are looking at 30 to 40 years,” said Cr Haebich.

Cr Haebich saw many positives to trees, not just the environmental aspect.

“They do so much for the environment and give out oxygen and get rid of carbon in the atmosphere,” said Cr Haebich.

“They are not only there for beautification they are also there for the environmental issues. Look at the streetscapes, parks, gardens and farmland and the water courses. We need to keep all that up and going.”

Cr Haebich said Council employed an arborist and undertook a tree study which resulted in a number of trees being replaced.

In the wake of this Cr Haebich said there’s still a long way to go.

“So many streets are missing trees and there’s dead trees and so many towns haven’t got trees at all to any great extent,” said Cr Haebich.

Cr Haebich cited tourism benefits and aiding mental health as other reasons to increase the trees across the region.

Cr Haebich said a lot could be done if part of the $1 million drought communities grant funding was put towards a tree planting programme.

“Trees to me, because the area is so old, will be an ongoing thing for replacement,” said Cr. Haebich.

“We may as well start now and keep it going because they take so long to grow.

“Trees are directly accountable to the drought relief but that has been totally overlooked.”

Elected members agreed to spend the grant funding on tourism and town signage,  drought and emergency water supply in Eden Valley, Mount Pleasant and Moculta, a drainage pad in the Barossa Bushgardens,  and a footpath programme.

Councillor Haebich states these are his private views and not that of The Barossa Council.

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