NORTH FREMANTLE residents are split over Freo council’s decision to raze the top of Cypress Hill mid-summer.
Harvest Road resident David Anthony said he was shocked during his evening stroll around the block to see council contractors had left the apex of hill barren after taking to the trees with chainsaws.
“I used to walk with my young daughters there all the time,” Mr Anthony says.
“All the trees, it was magical.”
The suburb’s guru of all things green and native, Ann Forma, says the problem was that much of the vegetation was an invasive acacia that turned crisp as it died off and led to the hill becoming an extreme bushfire risk.
The council does have plans to reintroduce some less flammable plants, but Ms Forma says that won’t happen until the weather cools.
“So the timing is probably not ideal, especially as people like a bit of shade over summer,” Ms Forma said.
“The problem is that then the people who are living up there who are agitated about the fire risk of course don’t want the vegetation there over summer,” she says.
“But it’s not possible for the council to not respond when they’ve got residents who want to complain about that and they’ve got a state government thats put these fire risk areas over urban bushland. It’s a very difficult situation at the moment.”
Fremantle council parks manager Ryan Abbott says the clearing was raised in a 2013 report, and residents were kept up-to-date throughout this year.
“The acacias were probably the most visual in terms of what they were doing and just due to their growth habit, they’re not native to the area for one and the way they grow is suckering and they continually spread so they do contribute to the fuel layer,” Mr Abbott said.
by EMILEE NEESON
This has been a fire risk talking point for years and all along the river escarpment the acacias are finally being removed to give the native trees breathing space and encourage native groundcovers