Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

GARDENING ex­pert Josh Byrne will hand out free trees and ad­vice at the City of Bel­mont’s Au­tumn River Fes­ti­val in Garvey Park on April 2.

The Gardening Aus­tralia pre­sen­ter wants to raise com­mu­nity aware­ness of the im­por­tance of na­tive trees in back­yards and streetscapes.

The City of Bel­mont ap­pointed Dr Byrne’s com­pany Josh Byrne and As­so­ciates to de­velop a canopy plan, the next step in its ur­ban for­est strat­egy.

“The canopy plan is re­ally get­ting into some of the nuts and bolts and work­ing out tree num­bers, canopy ar­eas and prac­tices about get­ting buy-in from the com­mu­nity – res­i­dents, ratepay­ers and other com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers – to recog­nise the im­por­tance of trees in the ur­ban land­scape,” Dr Byrne said.

The City of Bel­mont cre­ated an ur­ban for­est strat­egy in 2014 af­ter re­ports it had the low­est num­ber of trees in the metropoli­tan area.

The loss of tree canopy caused a heat sink, in­creas­ing tem­per­a­tures by 12 de­grees in some sub­urbs.

Yet some peo­ple can­not see the wood for the trees.

“Most peo­ple in­her­ently know trees are im­por­tant for shade, well­be­ing and beauty,” Dr Byrne said.

“(Yet) on a mi­cro level some peo­ple don’t want a tree on their par­tic­u­lar prop­erty.”

He said the key mes­sage was trees had a huge role to play in the live­abil­ity of sub­urbs and cities.

“We all need to be on­board with how we can in­crease tree canopies in our own gar­dens, streetscapes, parks and we need to start see­ing trees as ur­ban forests, not one-off spec­i­mens.”

City of Bel­mont Mayor Phil Marks said the Au­tumn River Fes­ti­val was a high­light of the City’s cal­en­dar and tra­di­tion­ally one of its larger events.

The fes­ti­val cel­e­brates Bel­mont’s po­si­tion by the Swan River with a wa­ter ski spec­tac­u­lar and free kayak and stand-up pad­dle­board tri­als.

Fresh cooked fish and chips for ev­ery res­i­dent will ac­com­pany tast­ings of pre­mium re­gional wines for adults.

Gardening and ur­ban de­sign ex­pert Josh Byrne with City of Bel­mont Mayor Phil Marks.

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