Whitehorse Tree Study

Whitehorse City Council engaged planning consultants Planisphere in late 2015 to undertake a study to review and analyse tree protection across the municipality and provide options for tree protection into the future.

The consultants reviewed the current mechanisms used to protect trees in Whitehorse, quantified current tree coverage and loss, and undertook consultation about tree protection and removal across the municipality.

Based on this work, the consultants identified several options available to Council to retain, protect and enhance trees across the municipality.

Council invited feedback on the draft options in April and May 2016 and received a variety of feedback which was incorporated into the Final Options Report.

At the meeting on 18 July 2016 ( PDF 2.64MB) Council considered a report on the Final Options Report and its recommendations and resolved to:

1. Adopt the Whitehorse Tree Study Final Options Report ( PDF 6.42MB);

2. Acknowledge the Whitehorse Tree Study Discussion Paper ( PDF 5.98MB);

3. Acknowledge the Whitehorse Tree Study Engagement Summary Report ( PDF 554.48KB);

4. Seek authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit an amendment to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme to implement Scenario B – Extend the Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) to all residential zoned land in the municipality;

5. Advocate to the state government for an increase in the fines for illegal tree removal and for stronger legislation to prevent moon-scaping of sites prior to development approval;

6. Advocate to the state government for a building and works trigger in the VPO;

7. Undertake an education and awareness program that includes:

  • Promotion of the importance of trees in the urban environment;
  • Incentives such as discounted tree vouchers;
  • Welcome packs to recognise the cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) community of Whitehorse; and
  • A review of the landscape plan review process.

8. Refer the education and awareness program, additional resources and monitoring and enforcement (including up to six new staff plus capital costs) to the 2017/18 budget process.

In May 2017 Council sought authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit an amendment to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme to extend the SLO to all residential zoned land in the municipality. In December 2017 the Minister approved Amendment C191 to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme, which introduced a municipal wide SLO to all residential land not currently included in the SLO, on an interim basis. At the same time the Minister directed Council to undertake further work before requesting the controls be implemented on a permanent basis. The further work ( PDF 17.25MB) was adopted by Council on 18 March 2019

The interim controls have now been extended to 30 June 2020 through Amendment C223. To understand more about how these amendments are related, please visit Council's Amendment C191 page.

In June 2019 Council received authorisation from the Minister to proceed with exhibiting an amendment to apply the interim controls permanently. For more information on the proposed permanent controls please visit the Amendment C219 Amendment.

For more information on the Whitehorse Tree Study please call the Planning & Building Department on 9262 6303 or email customer.service@whitehorse.vic.gov.au


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