Prospective tree debris maintenance support program rejected by the City of Canning

Stock image.
Stock image.

AN ambitious plan to provide elderly residents and people living with a disability within the City of Canning with tree maintenance help has fallen at the first hurdle.

City of Canning councillor Ben Kunze’s request for the chief executive to report on the viability of a tree debris maintenance program was rejected at the last ordinary council meeting.

The program’s intention was to assist residents who were unable to properly maintain debris cause by trees located on their respective verges.

Currently, the City will not remove trees because of any nuisance they may cause.

Residents are also unable to request removal if they want a different species, to reduce shading of solar panels and gardens, to improve a view or for cultural reasons.

Cr Kunze said it would be prudent for the city to consider providing support to those who were physically unable to maintain the trees themselves.

“I don’t believe we should be cutting down trees just because they’re performing their function, but I also don’t know how we can leave residents in a situation where we’re saying ‘tough luck you have to put up with it,” he said.

“I believe government should do for you what you can’t do for yourself and helping the disabled and the elderly if they’re struggling with street trees meets the criteria.”

While his fellow councillors liked the idea in theory, they objected over the potential cost involved and determination of eligibility for the program.

A cost estimate of $256,000 for two services per annum for one percent of the population (356 dwellings) was included in the council report.

However, Mayor Ng said this was a conservative estimation given Canning’s population of people over 65 years of age is predicted to rise by over 4000 by 2031.

Cr Holland, said while the intention was good and it was a hard decision not to support it, the plan was fraught with danger and queried how eligibility for the program would be determined.

The vote was tied 5-5, with councillors Barry, Hall, Holland, Jacobs voting against it alongside Mayor Ng, who used his casting vote to reject the motion.