Homeswest fells backyard forest

Wayne McDermott can’t believe the mini-forest he grew up amongst has been cleared for more housing; the bees in the tree near him were pretty narky as well. Photo by Steve Grant.

RESIDENTS in Hilton are up in arms after Homeswest started clear-felling a rare mini-forest in the heart of the “garden suburb” to make way for a sub-division.

The last tenants moved out of 38 Rennie Cres and its 1296sqm block last year and the department submitted an application for a subdivision this year, noting what could be a up-zoning “pending WAPC conditions and survey”.

On Tuesday the department’s tree loppers moved in, taking out several massive trees and heavily cutting back  others. The Herald was told late Thursday that Fremantle council may have convinced the department to put a pause on the chainsaws as it hadn’t been in the loop, but while the loppers have definitely stopped, we weren’t able to get confirmation.

Wayne McDermott’s parents were the last tenants and he spent 35 years growing up with the urban jungle in his backyard.

Mr McDermott said while he didn’t want a “Homeswest-bashing exercise” he felt it was an unnecessary canopy loss in a suburb fast losing its relationship to its original green aspirations.

“It’s for our children; we had three generations who were able to enjoy these beautiful trees, but what are we leaving for the next generation,” Mr McDermott said.

“That tree over there used to get filled with black cockies every single season – that’s why people are trying to save them.”

Mr McDermott believes that with a bit of creativity, and Fremantle council’s small house initiative Freo Alternative in mind, the department could put several dwellings in the backyard without having to lose any more trees.

A spokesperson for the department confirmed that a number of non-native species were to be cleared, while two tall Marri trees to the rear of the property were to be saved.

He said the department did what it could to retain trees on properties it redeveloped.

By STEVE GRANT

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