Newcastle Supercars: Foreshore Park tree replacement program due to start in March

Newcastle City Council says it will start replacing trees at Foreshore Park in March after many were cut down to make way for the Newcastle Supercars track.

A group of Newcastle East residents protested early last year against plans to remove 170 trees and shrubs in the park and Camp Shortland, where part of the track now bisects a reserve at Nobbys.

The council responded by promising to plant 230 new trees and shrubs and grow shade coverage from 500 to 9800 square metres when the trees matured. The planting would include 57 advanced Norfolk Island pines in 2017 and 2018 and another 37 from 2019 to 2021.

A council representative said on Wednesday that a four-year replacement program would begin in late March with the arrival of more than two dozen pines. The “staged” planting would include broad-leaved lilly pillies, coastal banksias, hibiscus and kentia palms.

“Planting will be scheduled throughout autumn 2018 during the best weather conditions for trees to establish and flourish in the coastal environment,” the representative said.

“Further works, including the realignment of paths, will be scheduled in the park after the school holidays.”

Newcastle East Residents Group spokeswoman Karen Read said the race had had a significant impact on the foreshore.    

“The reality is they’ve taken a huge amount of foliage away, and it looks like, to us, it won’t get replaced,” she said. “They took all the street trees out as well, so what we have now is Newcastle East has virtually no street trees, no shade, just all bitumen.

“Despite all of the promises that they were only taking out certain trees, right up until two days before the race they took out Norfolk Island pines that led to the underpass that led to Newcastle beach. They were never meant to go, and they just came and cut them down.

“They took out that big avenue from the bottom of Fort Scratchley. They say they’re working on a landscape plan, but they won’t release it so we can hold them to account.”

The council representative said it was reviewing a landscape plan which had been completed before the race.

“This will focus on areas where event infrastructure was located and will help identify future alterations to footpaths ... This review will determine more precisely what planting locations will work for the precinct.”

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