Claret Ash trees go during footpath upgrade

Wentworth Falls residents can expect footpath works in their town for months while Blue Mountains Council renews the western footpath on Station Street.

Ten existing Claret Ash trees - some as old as 25 years - are being removed and replaced with 10 Lipstick Maples for safety reasons.

Works at Wentworth Falls shops: Some disruptions expected for weeks as footpath and trees are replaced.

Works at Wentworth Falls shops: Some disruptions expected for weeks as footpath and trees are replaced.

Mayor Mark Greenhill said: "This is another important project that is helping to improve the accessibility and safety of our village centres, for our community and visitors to the area."

The project started on May 2 and could take up to ten weeks council has said.

In a statement, council said the "existing trees (Claret Ash) have been there for about 25 years and their roots do not have enough room for further growth, causing damage that is potentially unsafe to pedestrians and detrimental to the streetscape"

Some of the trees are stunted because their roots cannot grow further and will be further damaged once council lifts the pavement.

"To achieve an even footpath, roots would need to be cut, further compromising the trees. Although the maples will be smaller initially (3-4 metres), they will quickly grow to the scale of the current trees (8-10 metres). Visually, there will not be much difference, but the root system of the new trees will provide a longer-lasting option."

Council has put in measures to mitigate disruption to parking and pedestrians with access from the road. Ten car parking spaces are out of action, along with the bus stop. As part of the upgrade, council is replacing the driveways in "dark grey concrete to give a visual cue to drivers of pedestrian priority".

The lipstick maples are deciduous and provide shade in summer, while not blocking the sun in winter. They are also a more vibrant autumn colour and they are more tolerant of various soil conditions, making them a good street tree, council said.

"Since the original trees were planted, there has been increased understanding in how to manage urban/street trees, hence the replacement trees will have sufficient volume (3.7m3 per tree) to grow and survive and they will not cause drainage issues or damage to pavers, making them a better long term solution for the street," the council statement said.