CITY of Bayswater residents are invited to comment on a draft policy for trees on private land and street verges, which requires developers to plant trees on their properties.
At last night’s committee meeting, councillors voted 7-1 to put the draft policy up for public comment in a bid to increase the City’s tree canopy.
The draft policy requires property owners to plant trees as part of residential developments worth $100,000 or more and non-residential and mixed use developments worth $200,000 or more.
Proposed requirements include a minimum radius of 2m for a standard tree and 3.5m for a large tree are stipulated and for commercial and industrial areas, one tree will be planted for every four car bays.
Deputy Mayor Chris Cornish said loss of tree canopy from increased infill development in urban areas needed to be addressed.
“Canning, Stirling, Fremantle, Bassendean and Cockburn all seem to be further progressed in this than us which is a bit of a pity but often you don’t want to be the very first because you can come across issues,” he said.
Cr Cornish said the draft policy would compliment the City’s Urban Forest Strategy which aimed to put its tree canopy at 20 per cent by 2025.
“If developers opt to retain the block’s existing larger trees this would reduce their requirement to plant additional trees, as an incentive,” he said.
“We acknowledge that any action taken on private land would need to be fair and equitable and considerate of the financial expense incurred by the developer.”
Cr Elli Petersen-Pik said the council would ensure that no new development would be “treeless”.
Cr Giorgia Johnson said greater tree canopy would help offset global warming and reduce the impact on health.
Cr Catherine Ehrhardt said she was concerned that the draft policy would not cover smaller developments, where car bays were not protected from the sun.
Cr Brent Fleeton, who voted against the motion, said he liked the intent of the draft policy but it had little incentives for landowners.
“I also don’t like that residents across the City will be paying for the arborist,” he said.
“If the City and this council wants to invest in this, they should be investing funds especially when you are going to be forcing people to play by your rules.”
In the next few weeks, information on the draft policy will be available at engage.bayswater.wa.gov.au.