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Work has begun on a key Council document that will help ensure Lake Mac’s green areas continue to grow and thrive for years to come.
The Urban Greening Strategy now under development will explore ways to increase tree canopy cover across the City, reducing urban heat and making Lake Mac healthier and more liveable.
Manager Environmental Systems Tim Browne said community input was being sought to identify areas that needed attention, and existing green spaces people valued most.
“This is a particularly timely document, with Lake Macquarie just recognised as a Tree City of the World,” Mr Browne said.
“This is an accolade that recognises our commitment to planning and managing our City’s urban forest.”
The Urban Greening Strategy will provide a blueprint outlining how to create a healthier, more liveable and more sustainable urban environment.
“Trees in particular play a critical role in achieving this goal,” Mr Browne said.
“They provide shade and shelter, improve air quality, absorb carbon and rainfall and create natural habitats for native fauna.”
“When we’re considering new urban development, it’s also really important to consider their role in reducing temperatures in built-up areas during the peak of summer.”
More than 55 per cent of land in the Lake Macquarie local government area is covered by native vegetation, with most already protected in National Parks and conservation areas.
However, Mr Browne said some suburban areas only had 10-15 per cent tree canopy cover.
“Newly developed areas are often designed to support less than 10 per cent tree canopy cover, which increases urban heat,” he said.
“So, we need a strategy that helps us maintain the overall ratio of tree cover, while increasing the green infrastructure in rapid-growth parts of the City, making for more liveable urban areas.
“That refers to everything from tree-lined streets, parks and sports fields to suburban gardens and newer concepts such as green roofs and walls.”
An online feedback portal open at shape.lakemac.com.au until Thursday 1 April includes a survey and an interactive map where visitors to the site can nominate specific places they think need more trees, or need to be recognised and preserved.
Participants go in the draw to win one of four $50 Bunnings vouchers.