Residents are angered five lilly pilly trees will be removed from Little Lonsdale St to make way for the Wesley Church construction.
Lendlease, acting for the site developer Charter Hall, has proposed the tree removals.
A City of Melbourne spokesperson said the council’s arborist was satisfied that Lendlease had “exhausted all options to retain the trees and construction could only proceed if the trees were removed”.
But residents disagree.
East CBD residents group EastEnders tied yellow ribbons on the threatened trees to show its solidarity against what it said was “unjustified and unnecessary” tree removal.
“There’s no reason why these trees should come down. They are right next the church cottage, which will be preserved,” EastEnders said.
The group said it was dismayed to see the trees being removed, having pushed for them a decade ago. It said they were being removed for the convenience of developers.
“The council shows no regard for the history and value of the trees in a high-density residential area. The experts advise the council without any community input.”
“The council doesn’t care or chooses to ignore the residents,” EastEnders said.
EastEnders also noted the costs of removing existing and planting new trees could be hundreds of thousands dollars.
The City of Melbourne said the five trees would be replaced after the 30-month construction.
Two other trees have recently been removed for an unrelated development at 111 Little Lonsdale St.
Black hoardings have been erected around the Wesley Church construction site, which residents said would provide a blank canvas for illegal graffiti.
Council has endorsed a proposal to beautify long-term hoardings in the city and said it was currently working out a process for implementation.