A MONSTER gum tree in Fremantle has been felled, irking local residents and Fremantle councillor Rachel Pemberton.
Workers armed with chainsaws started lopping the tree on private property on Douglas Street last Friday.
“We badly need tree protection and planned green space and tree lined urban spaces along vistas such as Pakenham and High Streets and many other urban sites and properties,” said a local, who wished to remain anonymous.
“It’s not good enough anymore to leave harsh concrete glare-filled heat sinks in urban space. The world has changed: natural resources are so valuable for healthy air and fauna. We need to grow and conserve trees and native species. There is no excuse for clear felling anymore.”
The property owner told the Herald they had to remove the tree due to falling branches and their neighbours had been extremely understanding.
“It was a heartbreaking decision, but there was no other option really,” the owner said.
Fremantle has a significant tree register but the gum was not on it. If the tree is on private land it is up to the landowner to voluntarily add it to the register.
“Sadly the council doesn’t currently have power to stop trees being felled on private land,” Cr Pemberton said.
“We had considered a planning approval approach, but that had some adverse outcomes. So instead we’re looking at incentives that will encourage people to keep trees on private land.”
According to a 2014 report by Sydney’s University of Technology Institute for Sustainable Futures, Fremantle had just 10.4 per cent canopy coverage, the second-worst rate in the greater Perth region.
Fremantle council formed a green committee to try to improve on this.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK