On the warm autumn afternoon of 6 April 2018, the light rail construction project reached a major milestone. The planting of the first five-metre high Eucalyptus mannifera gum tree took place between Elouera and Girrawheen Streets. Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris said, “Today’s tree planting marked the beginning of the transformation of our northern gateway to the city.”
These trees are currently growing at the Yarralumla Nursery, to allow the plants to acclimatise to the Canberra environment. Aside from the signature Eucalyptus mannifera, there are other tree species and a variety of native wildflowers, herbs, forbs and grasses that will also be featured along the light rail corridor.
“These gums are considered an impressive species which have been featured in other landscaping projects around Canberra over the past 50 years, creating beautiful native boulevards,” said Minister Fitzharris.
The Light Rail Landscape Plan will deliver a subtle transition of landscaping along the route from Gungahlin to Civic with more than 1,000 trees and one million plants to be placed along the route. A grassland landscape in the northern parts of the corridor will transition to a more formal grand boulevard design along Northbourne Avenue. The landscaping closer to Civic will contain a distinctive visual corridor of Eucalypts with native grasslands and wildflowers.
The trees were selected after community consultation and discussions with the National Capital Authority to ensure appropriate species were selected. Planting has also commenced on some verges in the northern end of the corridor with similar trees.
Meegan Fitzharris MLA and Glenn Stockton Canberra Metro CEO placed the first shovel load of dirt into the tree pit on Northbourne Avenue