15 March 2013









Dear Councillor/Sir/Madam


You are invited to attend an WORKS AND SERVICES COMMITTEE of Ashfield Council, to be held on Level 6, Civic Centre, 260 Liverpool Road, Ashfield on TUESDAY

19 MARCH 2013 at 7:00 PM.

















Works and Services Committee - 19 March 2013






1.               Opening


2.               Acknowledgement of Local Aboriginal Community


3.               Apologies/Request for Leave of Absence


4.               Disclosures Of Interest


Disclosures to be made by any Councillors who have a pecuniary / non-pecuniary interest in respect of matters that are before the Committee at this meeting.



5.               Confirmation of Minutes of Committee


Works & Services Committee – 20 November 2012



6.               Staff Reports




Note: Power Point Presentation by Council Tree Technical Officer Harry Diversi





Note: Power Point Presentation by Director Works & Infrastructure - Peter Cormican, and Manager Operations - Martin Szydlowski



7.               Investigations into Residential Parking Schemes – South Ashfield CBD and North Ashfield CBD


Presentation by Consultant Lyle Marshall of Lyle Marshall and Associates



Ashfield Council – Report to Works and Services Committee held on Tuesday 19 March 2013    WS6.1

Subject                            NEW TREE PRESERVATION ORDER AND POLICY


File Ref                            Governance>>Policies


Prepared by                   Harry Diversi - Casual Tree Technical Officer       



Reasons                          To replace the existing Council Tree Preservation Order and adopt a Tree Preservation Policy that better meets the needs of the Environment, Council and the local community.


Objective                         The objective of this report is to provide informative detailed regulatory and policy information regarding the management and preservation of trees on both public and private land, promoting industry best practice, the importance of safety and improved environmental protection.




Overview of Report

To provide an overview of the current development of a new Tree Preservation Order and Policy.





At its meeting of the 11 December 2012, Council considered a report recommending the adoption of a proposed Tree Preservation Order and Tree Preservation Policy. At this meeting Council resolved;


1/2    That Council received and noted the report.

2/2    That the draft Tree Policy be presented to a working party of interested Councillors early in 2013”


Councils first Tree Preservation Order (TPO) was adopted in 1967 and was repealed in 1985.  Council adopted the existing Tree Preservation Order on the 17 July 2001.  This TPO protects all trees over 5 metres in height protected all trees.  This TPO is based on the requirements of the ASHFIELD LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN 1985 (Part 1, Clause 8 Model Provisions), as empowered by the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act 1979).  Exemptions are limited and relate to a small number of species and minor maintenance pruning.


About 400-500 TPO applications, 900 street tree pruning or removal requests & 1100 TPO related telephone enquiries are received each year.  Of the TPO applications about 60% are for removal and the remaining 40% for various types of pruning.  The approval rate is approximately 70%.



Increasingly it has come to Councils attention that this TPO no longer meets the needs of Council, nor does it fully assist residents and rate payers in the management of trees for environmental, safety or building impacts.


Additionally the existing TPO contains botanical errors, outdated references to industry best practice and external organisations, inadequate responses to storm events, inadequate tools for the management of undesirable tree or noxious weed species and provides an overly limited range of exempted works thus hampering tree owner’s ability to manage their trees responsibly.


Key differences between the existing and proposed Tree Preservation Order

·    The height of the protected trees has been lowered from 5 metres to 4 metres to bring us more in line with adjoining Council areas. 

·    Mangroves and trees growing in parks, footpaths, roads, etc are now specifically protected.

·    The number of exempted species has increased from 12 to 17.

·    The range of exempted removal and pruning work has been increased (from 5 to 12) and now reflects environmental and the Arboriculture industry best practice. 


In addition, the following 7 types of tree works are proposed to be exempt:

1.   A greater number of fruit trees (about 13 different types) can now be pruned or removed without council consent.

2.   Dangerous, dead, dying or terminally diseased trees can be removed without a permit (subject to confirmation be a qualified practicing arborist).

3.   Trees can be more easily tested for termites or wood decay.

4.   Hedges over 6 metres in height can be pruned by up to 1/3 without a TPO permit.

5.   Routine maintenance allows the pruning of up to 20% of a tree canopy (this includes select branch removal, pruning of deadwood or broken branches over a 3 year period).

6.   The pruning of trees for clearances to a building has been more clearly specified.

7.   Orders for tree pruning and removal under section 124 and 125 of the Local Government Act 1993 are exempted from obtaining a permit.


The proposed Tree Preservation Order reflects the practices of adjoining Council areas to help reduce or prevent occurrences of accidental breach of our TPO.


Key differences between the existing and proposed Tree Preservation Policy

The proposed policy replaces the Tree Preservation component of the Ashfield Tree Preservation and Landscape Policy.  (NOTE:- the street tree aspects will be further addressed in a future Street and Park Tree Strategy).


This new policy provides guidelines for the management of both privately and Council owned trees.


·    Part A provides general information concerning the Tree Preservation Order and Tree Preservation Policy. 

·    Part B provides information concerning trees on private land.

·    Part C provides information concerning trees on public land.



Generally, the policy provides important new information  concerning;

1.   The application process for private trees (Appointments, inspections, considerations, public notification, etc).

2.   Requirements for tree planting on private land.

3.   The appeals process (including information about the Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours)  Act 2007).

4.   The management of public trees (including making a request, inspection & assessment practices and public notification).


With regard to the requirement by Council that applicants provide their own reports from Consultant Arborists and Engineers, this is often required due to the complexity of tree and structural issues raised in their applications.  At times trees need to be climbed or trenches dug in order to view the problems raised as the reasons underlining applications  for tree pruning or removal. In the proposed TP Policy this existing requirement is further refined and explained in order to allow Council to determine TPO applications more consistently and to allow TPO applicants to obtain their own specialist advice more effectively, should they wish to do so.


Appendices in Part D contain the adopted TPO, various sample application and assessment forms and additional dispute between neighbour's information provided by the NSW Land and Environment Court, as well as providing relevant select references.


Financial Implications


This administration of this proposed TPO will be cost neutral as the work will be carried out using existing staff resources. 

The only additional (minor) cost will be that of the cost of publishing the new TPO and Policy (if adopted) in the local media and the Government Gazette of NSW.


Impact on existing policies

The Ashfield Council Tree Preservation and Landscape Policy was adopted on the 30 May 1995 and last amended on the 27 January 1999. It covers Landscaping on Public and private Land.  As such most of this policy is development related and is not relevant to the aim and objectives of the proposed Tree Preservation Policy. Sections 6, 7,8,9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 will be superseded (brought up to current industry best practice).



Other Staff Comments


The Director Planning and Environment and the Manager Regulatory Services have identified that the review of the existing and the TPO is dated and is now urgently required for replacement.  Council is finalising its Draft LEP, however, for administrative and legal reasons, The Department of Planning and Infrastructure advise  the Plan is unlikely to be gazetted by the Minister until June/July at the earliest and as such should not be allowed to delay the adoption of this proposed TPO.   With the new LEP the Tree Preservation Order will require to be re-exhibited as a draft Development Control Plan  as the model provisions will no longer be applicable.  A further report to be submitted to Council in due course on this matter.


Following the drafting of the Tree Preservation Order and Tree Preservation Policy in September 2012 comments where sought from the following officers of Council;

·    Director Planning and Environment,

·    Manager Regulatory Services,

·    Manager Strategic Planning,

·    Team Leader Sustainability,

·    Director Works and Infrastructure,

·    Senior Engineer – Infrastructure Management Services

·    Manager Operations,

·    Coordinator Parks and Trees.


Relevant Council Officers formed a Review Committee following a number of editorial meetings throughout 2012 and 2013, On the 5th March this committee signed off on the  draft TP Order and TP Policy.


Public Consultation


The Draft Tree Preservation Policy will need to be notified to the public for a period of 28 days.




There is now a pressing need for Council to make a new Tree Preservation Order (TPO). 

This report and attached TPO and Policy will provide a substantial benefit to Council and to tree owners within the LGA by providing a greater range of exemptions, thus allowing for a more responsible tree management and neighbour relations, whilst maintaining accountability for safety and to the environment.  It provides improved transparency for assessment, reviews of decisions and for enforcement. It provides for appropriate replacement tree planting. Lastly it reflects current  industry best practice, legal obligations and will ensure that the urban forest of Ashfield is both maintained and enhanced into the future.



Attachment 1View

Model Provisions for the making of Tree Preservation Orders

2 Pages


Attachment 2View

Proposed Tree Preservation Order

7 Pages


Attachment 3View

Proposed Tree Preservation Policy

60 Pages





1/2    That Council notes the first draft of the TPO and Tree Preservation Policy for comment.


2/2    That a further report be brought back to Council presenting the draft for Exhibition in April.



Peter Cormican

Director Works & Infrastructure  

Attachment 1


Model Provisions for the making of Tree Preservation Orders



Attachment 2


Proposed Tree Preservation Order








Attachment 3


Proposed Tree Preservation Policy





























































Ashfield Council – Report to Works and Services Committee held on Tuesday 19 March 2013    WS6.2

Subject                            STREET SWEEPING AND WEED CONTROL


File Ref                            Street Sweeping


Prepared by                   Martin Szydlowski - Manager Operations       



Reasons                          To provide Council with the information requested on Street Sweeping and Weed Spraying activities.


Objective                         That Council note the information contained in this report.




Overview of Report

Council requested a report on the frequency of street cleaning and weed control and related questions.   This report provides the requested advice.  No increase in service levels, budget or staff establishment is currently proposed.





Council resolved at its meeting held 9th October 2012 that a report be brought back to Council regarding:


1/3 (a) the frequency of street cleaning;

(b) the frequency of weed control;

(c) a timetable for street sweeping and weed control be made available to all Councillors;

(d) undertaking an audit of all streets, to ascertain which streets need more frequent sweeping and/or weed control;  


2/3 Exploration of strategies to encourage community pride and resident participation; 


3/3 The adequacy of the present budget allocation to address above issues.


In relation to 1/3 (a) – The frequency of street cleaning


Manual sweeping occurs on all streets within the Ashfield, including those swept mechanically on a weekly basis, with the Ashfield LGA split up into 16 Zones that are attended to by four (4) work crews. There are a total of 296 street segments within these 16 Zones which are swept a cycle on average of every 6 to 8 weeks. However in summer and autumn months the cycle is set aside (as required) and heavy leaf drop streets are focused on and dealt with on a priority and reported basis.  Consequently the calculated overall annual average cycle for manual (only) street sweeping is 11 weeks.



Of the 296 street segments within these 16 zones, 122 (41%) are also swept with the mechanical sweeper on a weekly basis, with CBD areas swept on a daily basis, and main roads swept weekly.  Sweeping may be interrupted by machinery downtime, staff shortages or where kerb-side parking restricts access for the sweeper truck.  There is a high number of residential streets which are not swept with the mechanical sweeper for a number of reasons.  These include streets which are continuously parked out particularly Ashfield and Summer Hill surrounding the CBD area ; or streets where the  number of trees prevent mechanical sweeping particularly those with low branches that conflict with the sweeper; or some streets which are one way and too narrow and using the sweeper causes traffic congestion and prevents vehicles passing.  All these streets are only swept manually.


Litter collection (via blowing and sweeping) of the public domain footpaths (commercial areas) and emptying street bins is undertaken on a daily cycle including weekends and  public holidays except Christmas Day.


Maps have been attached of the 16 manual street cleaning zones (Attachment 1)  and the daily routes for the mechanical sweeper (Attachment 2).  The mechanical sweeper has a predetermined morning run that is completed prior to attending to other streets listed for each day of the week.


In relation to 1/3 (b) – The frequency of weed control


Weed Growth Control (i.e. weed spraying) is undertaken by a two (2) man work crew with the Ashfield LGA divided into 29 Zones. A map of the 29 weed growth control zones has been attached (Attachment 3).  Each zones is aimed to be sprayed within a 4 month cycle, i.e. 3 times a year. 


There are many factors that can affect the actually timing of when each zone is sprayed. These factors include;

·    The season in which they are sprayed, for instance this summer with the rainfall we have had is creating an ideal environment for them to regrow.

·    The amount of rainfall as dryer conditions are needed for the roundup bioactive to take effect.

·    Wind conditions affect when spraying is undertaken as spray could drift and affect grasses, trees or other plants not targeted.

·    Staffing levels, as the crew of two staff maintain weed growth control as well as poster removal.  Preference is given to inspection of main roads being Parramatta Road, Liverpool Road, Frederick Street, Wattle Street, Ramsay Street and Old Canterbury Road where posters are placed and removed on a daily basis. 

·    Customer requests that alert Council to bad areas that may need urgent attention.

Overall weed spraying is conducted on a zone to zone basis.  Once complete the crew moves on to the next zone with the aim of completing the entire LGA in a 4 month cycle. The order in which this is done is generally working through the zones numerically however this can be varied dependant on the rate of regrowth in some zones compared to others.



Given the current resources, staff are maintaining the 4 month cycle time.  This approach is considered effective to provide the residents of Ashfield Council with appropriate weed growth control.


In relation to 1/3 (c) – A timetable for street sweeping and weed control be made available to all Councillors


A set timetable for street sweeping or weed control is not readily available as it may change from day to day, particularly in summer months as explained above.  Should Councillors require a set timetable to be prepared and advertised then the flexibility for operational staff to determine, action and respond to the daily service demands will be lost. 


At best a zone timetable for street sweeping could be prepared indicating the approximate fortnight period when manual street sweeping would be expected to occur.  This would be based on the nominal 6 to 8 week cycle, however, such a timetable cannot be guaranteed due to realities of weather, plant and equipment operation, other customer requests, public holidays and staffing levels.


In relation to 1/3 (d) – Undertaking an audit of all streets, to ascertain which streets need more frequent sweeping and/or weed control


Street audits and workload monitoring are continuously carried out to determine service demand.  For street cleaning each street segment within the LGA has been included in 16 defined zones has been given one of three (3) ratings to classify its leaf fall category that being Heavy, Medium or Light based on the tree species, number of and size of trees within each street segment (see Attachment 4). This rating is seasonal and the service level is adjusted as described above to meet the seasonal leaf drop demand. 


There is no current street rating categories for weed growth control due to the difficulty in determining future growth of weeds that can occur in streets. Dependant on a range of climatic, soil and other growth factors some streets could be a problem on a few occasions then die off when other streets may then become an issue. Noxious weeds are treated in the regular cycle. No additional resources are allocated to independently treat reports of noxious weeds.


2/3 Exploration of strategies to encourage community pride and resident participation; 


Council has programmed to implement the Illegal Dumping Strategy in 2013.  This will particularly target multi unit dwellings and provides for “Dob in a Dumper” signage and education flyers to be distributed to residential units. 


A Stormwater education tool has been presented and displayed at public events to demonstrate the linkage between the stormwater pit and the receiving water.  This display will continue to be utilised at public events. 



Council also has a weed control brochure which is made available on the website to help residents identify noxious weeds and control measures.  The main sources of noxious weeds are generally on private property and in this regard Council is preparing a new Tree Preservation Policy.  This document will provide additional guidance to householders to maintain trees overhanging the street and to identify noxious weeds and tree owners’ responsibilities for the maintenance of trees.


Council provides Bi-Annual Major Cleanups and the no-cost option of 4 clean up collections per residential property via a booking system, to allow residents to correctly dispose of bulky waste items. 


Council is also conducting a monthly e-waste (computers, TV’s, etc) service via a drop off to the Council Depot.  This service has now been increased to have additional quarterly collections on a Saturday morning.  Council is now also providing a booking service to collect dead Christmas trees. 


3/3 The adequacy of the present budget allocation to address above issues.


The current operational budget is considered adequate to provide for the current level of service for street sweeping and weed spraying.  To demonstrate demand in 2012 Council received and responded to 486 customer requests for street sweeping and 64 for weed spraying.


However it should be noted that the current 6 - 8 weekly average cycle for street sweeping is not always able to be achieved, particularly during spring and summer months when heavy leaf drop occurs.  This was particularly evident early in the current summer season and exacerbated by staff shortages and vacancies in the area.  Three street and gutter staff vacancies have recently been advertised and a full complement of staff is anticipated to be in place by the end of March 2013.


Service levels may also be affected by machinery downtime, for example equipment used for manual sweeping.  Council’s Supervisor Operations Support Services advises all trucks and plant are replaced in accordance with Council’s Plant replacement program and are currently in good working order.  Equipment is repaired and maintained on a continuous basis to ensure these services are not interrupted.  Council’s small footpath sweeper will be replaced in 2013/14 at a budget cost of some $132,000. 


Council’s current putrescibles waste tipping contract approved by Council in July 2012 requires transport to Clyde from 14th January 2013.  The contract rate for tipping saves $16.33 per tonne (excl GST) on the previous putrescible tipping rate for waste transported to Chullora.  Council’s street sweeper and compactor is required to deliver waste to Clyde daily whilst the 4 suction trucks will be doing the same trip 2 or 3 times per week depending on the amount of waste collected.  The new location will add additional travel time (up to an estimated 45 minutes to one hour per return trip) in comparison to the transit depot located at Chullora. 



The additional cost for this arrangement is difficult to immediately quantify with any accuracy.  Given the lower tonnage rate it is anticipated the overall service cost will be similar to the prior arrangement but will result in a modest impact on the frequency of street sweeping.  A further review of street sweeping frequencies will follow the operation of the modified service over the next 12 month period.


Financial Implications

Nil additional budget required to maintain the current service levels.


Other Staff Comments



Public Consultation




Council has requested a review of the budget and service levels for street sweeping and weed control.  It is considered that at this time the current service level for these services is adequate and cycle times will be improved upon the return to full staff establishment.




Attachment 1View

Manual Street Cleaning Zones

1 Page


Attachment 2View

Mechanical Sweeper Daily Run

1 Page


Attachment 3View

Weed Growth Control Zones

1 Page


Attachment 4View

Street Sweeping Street Classification

1 Page






That Council receive and note the report










Peter Cormican

Director Works & Infrastructure





Attachment 1


Manual Street Cleaning Zones


Attachment 2


Mechanical Sweeper Daily Run


Attachment 3


Weed Growth Control Zones


Attachment 4


Street Sweeping Street Classification