A FREMANTLE environmental group says it’s been doing the sums and the upgrade of the High Street/Stirling Highway intersection could result in many more mature tuart trees being destroyed than Main Roads is letting on.
Although Main Roads’ concept plan includes a wide median strip to “preserve a number of mature trees” former Fremantle Environmental Resource Network (FERN) co-ordinator Simon Peterffy says he’s stepped out the plan and believes up to 100 tuart trees will go.
“We have repeatedly asked for detailed plans about the proposed route and up until now we have largely been ignored,” Mr Peterffy said.
“We are very concerned about the fate of the tuarts.”
Last year tuart forests were recommended to be listed as a critically endangered ecological community by the national Threatened Species Scientific Community.
Although the High Street verge is unlikely to be affected if that listing goes ahead because its understorey is too degraded, Mr Peterffy says the trees are a vital link to the area’s history.
“It was the tuart that gave White Gum Valley its name. Where are all of those tuarts now?” he pondered.
“These trees provide habitat and food for large amounts of birds, flora and fauna.
“Such a reckless plan for destruction in this day and age should be rejected outright.”
Mr Peterffy says he’s also skeptical the plan will reduce road safety, as he’s been watching the intersection closely and reckons the real problem’s just outside FERN’s headquarters on the corner of Montreal Street.
He says there’s a noticeable dip in the road which means the drivers can’t see the lights, and it’s when others in front of them start braking unexpectedly that most accidents occur.
“Truckies can’t brake under speed,” he says.
FERN is also smarting after previous plans to relocate onto Booyeembara Park have been shelved by Fremantle council.
Although the council has said it would look for alternative locations, Mr Peterffy says with Main Roads planning to start working on the upgrade by the end of this calendar year, FERN is running out of time. He says they’d need a minimum of six months to move and says unless the council starts presenting options soon, they fear they’ll have to close down.
He says they’ve told Main Roads they could continue on the current site, albeit at a reduced size, once the works have been completed but don’t feel the option is even being considered.
The Herald asked Main Roads if its plans had progressed far enough to determine how many trees will be lost.
by STEVE GRANT