Main Roads heavy with the axe

Brad Pettitt noticed the canopy was a bit thin while driving along the High Street ‘upgrade’. Photo by Flynn Watts.

MAIN ROADS has chopped down 25 more mature trees than it said it would for the High Street upgrade.

Former Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt told the Herald he noticed the canopy along the new route was looking thinner than he’d envisaged while negotiating the design for the council.

“As it developed, I was like, ‘is this really what we agreed to’,” Dr Pettitt told the Herald.

Dr Pettitt took his concerns to Parliament’s question time where the department admitted it hadn’t stuck to the original plan.

Cutting corners

“Clearly, they’re not cutting corners in lots of other ways [so] why [are they] cutting corners around retaining mature trees? I think it’s not good enough,” Dr Pettitt said.

“You shouldn’t have to ask questions to parliament to find out they haven’t done what they told the community they were going to do. 

“Everyone has a right to be disappointed.”

The High Street upgrade spans from the Stirling Highway intersection east to Carrington Street. 

Originally 72 per cent of the 245 large trees in the area were to be saved, but Dr Pettitt’s question revealed only 60 per cent have been retained.

A 2018 survey found the area to be a high-quality foraging ground for the endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo and vulnerable Forest Red tailed cockatoo, with 58 “potential breeding habitat” trees.

Only 36 have been saved, down on the previously promised 48. 

Main Roads spokesman Dean Roberts said “site constraints” identified during construction were behind the additional logging. 

“The removal of these trees will have a negligible impact on Black Cockatoo foraging habitat,” Mr Roberts said. 

“Approval was granted from the Environmental Protection Authority to clear the additional trees.

“We have undertaken every effort to minimise impact on the surrounding environment, particularly established trees.

“The project’s design was carefully developed, in close collaboration with the City of Fremantle, to reduce environmental impacts as far as possible.

by FLYNN WATTS

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