Update On Burnley Golf Course Redesign Works

Yarra City Council
An aerial view of Burnley Golf Course

Last year, some trees and vegetation were removed at Burnley Golf Course as part of a community safety response to reduce the risk of golf balls travelling on to the freeway.

The trees were removed following an extensive assessment by an independent arborist that found the majority of trees slated for removal were of low arboricultural value.

While there is not a planning permit trigger to remove native vegetation under the native vegetation provision of the planning scheme, we have since identified that a permit was required for tree removal under the Heritage Overlay that covers a large area of land including the golf course.

The Heritage Overlay covers Yarra Boulevard, Richmond Park and Burnley Park. The significant features recognised as having heritage value are buildings and hard landscaping constructed prior to 1945 and remnant indigenous vegetation and mature trees planted before 1945.

Trees and soft and hard landscaping established after 1945 are considered ‘Not Contributory’ to the heritage value of the area. As none of the vegetation removed as part of these safety works was planted before 1945, we are confident that no impact has been made to the heritage value of the area.

We acknowledge that we made an error and will apply for a retrospective permit promptly. To ensure community confidence in this process, we will engage an independent planning expert to apply for the permit on Council’s behalf and another independent planning expert to assess the application and provide advice to help Council make a decision.

Planning is a complex process and we don’t always get it right. We are committed to continuous improvement and learning from our mistakes and have implemented more rigorous checks for permit requirements on all Council projects in the future, including those that require tree removal.

Revegetation works are already underway. A total of 50,000 plants and 450 trees, including a diverse range of indigenous and native species like banksias, acacias and eucalypts, will be planted and have been carefully selected to improve biodiversity, wildlife habitat and amenity in the area.

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