Lake to spend $1.3m on trees

LAKE Macquarie City Council plans to spend $1.37million on planting street trees in Charlestown.

Cr Kay Fraser questioned the cost and asked why the council could not grow its own trees at Teralba worm farm, rather than buying grown trees.

‘‘The cost seems excessive,’’ Cr Fraser said. ‘‘Surely we can get these costs down.’’

Part of the plan includes spending $8400 on two recycling bins, which Cr Fraser also questioned.

Council sustainability manager Alice Howe said it was the standard price for the bins, but the council would get value because they were fireproof and had graffiti-resistant metal.

The Charlestown plan includes $58,000 to supply, deliver and install 29 other bins at $2000 each.

A council statement said the $1.37million cost covered ‘‘more than trees’’. ‘‘Trees make up less than 10per cent of that figure,’’ the statement said.

‘‘Costs include supply of 370 trees (about $120,000 in total) and excavation, drainage, tree guards and spoil removal (about $1.25million in total).’’

The species being considered were eucalypts, pear trees, crepe myrtles and waterhousias.

Council city projects manager Adam Wakeman said the costs were based on ‘‘industry prices or quotations’’.

Mr Wakeman said the council would ‘‘look for further efficiencies at the detailed design phase’’.

Mayor Greg Piper said the council should ‘‘always be looking to reduce those costs where possible’’.

The trees are part of the Charlestown Streetscape Masterplan, estimated to cost $9.2million to complete.

The council also plans to spend $560,000 on ‘‘soft landscaping’’, which includes about 3500 square metres of garden beds, about 12,250 square metres of turf, soil preparation, removal of spoil, topsoil and mulch.

It plans to spend $6.3million on ‘‘new footpaths and pavements’’ and $50,000 on public art.

The council does not have money set aside for the work but hopes the state government will provide some.

The council has a $5.6million plan to upgrade Cardiff town centre, the first stage of which is planned to start this year with $2.5 million in state money.

The overall plan includes spending $618,500 on planting 149 trees, along with tree guards, paving around the trees and excavation work and $270,000 on public art.

COST ESTIMATES

Charlestown Streetscape Masterplan

Street tree planting $1.37 million

New footpaths and pavements $6.36 million

Stairs and pedestrian thresholds $100,000

Soft landscaping $560,000

10 pedestrian lights and poles $67,000

29 waste bins $58,000

Two recycling bins $8400

Pacific Highway median-strip fence $308,500

Six raised planter boxes for highway median strip $252,000

Four bus shelters $88,000

Public art $50,000

Total$9.2 million

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