Re­moval al­ways last re­sort: coun­cil

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Victoria Park - Michele Nu­gent

THE Town of Vic­to­ria Park has de­fended its decision to re­move a fig tree on Wash­ing­ton Street, say­ing it is con­cerned about safety, in­fra­struc­ture and prop­erty dam­age, dam­age to ser­vices and pub­lic li­a­bil­ity is­sues.

After com­mu­nity out­rage at the decision to re­move two ma­ture eu­ca­lypts from Lath­lain Place last month, Tem­ple Street res­i­dent Michelle Hazel­wood said the dis­ap­point­ing decision showed the Town con­tin­ued to demon­strate an “easy way out” and an “en­vi­ron­men­tally dis­re­spect­ful at­ti­tude in man­ag­ing our land­scape”.

“The health ben­e­fits and raised prop­erty value pro­vided by ma­ture trees are un­ques­tion­able. I can­not com­pre­hend how the re­moval of more ma- ture fur­ther trees can be jus­ti­fied as ben­e­fi­cial to the prop­er­ties or com­mu­nity,” Ms Hazel­wood said.

But the Town’s act­ing Re­new Life di­rec­tor, War­ren Bow, said its street tree re­moval pol­icy was to re­tain trees and that re­moval was a last re­sort.

He said each re­quest for tree re­moval was as­sessed on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis in ac­cor­dance with the pol­icy and no other ma­ture trees were sched­uled for re­moval.

“Coun­cil re­ceived a com­plaint from a res­i­dent re­gard­ing dam­age the tree was caus­ing to both pri­vate and pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture,” Mr Bow said.

“Coun­cil of­fi­cers in­spected the tree and sur­rounds and deemed it nec­es­sary to seek ap­proval for re­moval as per the Town’s pol­icy.”

He said the fig tree would not be re- moved un­til a fam­ily of chicks be­ing raised in the tree had left the nest.

“The Town is con­sult­ing a lo­cal wildlife cen­tre to en­sure the nest­ing habits of a lo­cal bird in the tree is not dis­turbed un­til the chicks have ma­tured and left the nest. Un­til there is con­fir­ma­tion that the bird and its chicks have moved on, the tree will not be re­moved,” he said.

Be­tween June 2008-2011 the Town in­spected and doc­u­mented ev­ery street tree with each added to a fre­quently up­dated data­base.

“There are more than 15,000 verge trees that re­quire man­ag­ing and ev­ery tree re­moved is re­placed, if not at the same lo­ca­tion, then some­where more ap­pro­pri­ate. A decision is made at the time a tree is re­moved on a suit­able re­place­ment species,” he said.

The fig tree des­tined for re­moval .

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