WITH one of lowest rates of tree coverage in Perth, the City of Canning is now investigating crowd funding as a way to accelerate tree planting in the community.
At last week’s Council meeting, councillor Pauline Tarrant’s push for the City to look into crowd funding to increase the number of trees in the City was successful with only three out of seven councillors voting against the proposal.
Cr Tarrant said community members had raised concerns about the decline in the number of trees in the municipality and wanted more to be done to protect and increase their numbers.
“The City of Canning has the third worst tree canopy coverage in the metropolitan area. Canning Vale in particular has poor canopy coverage and suffers under the urban heat island effect,” Cr Tarrant said.
“This is one way to put ourselves out there as leaders in this space, as being innovative in the field and really take the Council forward,” she said.
“In order to appeal to a range of budgets, a range of tree purchase options should be available. Also, inclusion of a carbon footprint calculator may help people who want to use this opportunity to offset their carbon footprint,” Cr Tarrant said.
Cr Patrick Hall said crowd funding could attract funds from outside Canning from interstate and overseas donors.
“This is an opt-in system. It is a not a matter of putting pressure on our existing residents,” he said.
Cr Christine Cunningham said she did not agree with Council adopting crowd funding.
She said the City did not have a policy in relation to the use of crowd funding and one was needed before considering the idea.
“I want to know when we crowd fund and when we don’t,” she said.
“When a government steps out of its domain then crowd funding steps in because we have abrogated our responsibilities.
“We want a good tree canopy and we want to increase the number of trees here – that is our job. To hand it off to people randomly who may or may not participate is not the way for the Council to go,” Cr Cunningham said.
Cr Jesse Jacobs said he supported the idea, stating Council needed to be progressive.
“We are always catching up to other councils like Stirling, Vincent and Fremantle. This is a chance for us to say ‘hey we are Canning ,we have something innovative’,” Cr Jacobs said.
Deputy Mayor Lindsay Holland, who voted against the motion, said he was concerned about potential administration costs associated with the concept.
“I’m not totally against the idea of crowd funding. I am worried we have not done any research into what it will cost.
“It could be the amount of money we get from crowd funding would be totally absorbed in administering the crowd funding.”
The City will report to Council in September 2017 on crowd funding mechanisms.