Wattle Grove trees: City of Kalamunda says it is ‘trying to save’ lemon-scented gums

Wattle Grove trees: City of Kalamunda says it is ‘trying to save’ lemon-scented gums

RESIDENTS held an emergency meeting at the weekend amid growing concerns the City of Kalamunda is keeping them in the dark over the future of an avenue of lemon-scented gum trees in Wattle Grove.

The trees along Welshpool Road East are set to be cut down to allow for the construction of a slip lane to provide access to the St Peter’s Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church.

Save the Gum Trees of Wattle Grove co-ordinator Vanessa Mazza said the community had been blocked from taking part in discussions with stakeholders.

“The council had given undertakings to the community that they would be involved in discussions about finding ways to save the trees which form an important entry statement to the Perth Hills,” she said.

“We have been actively excluded by the City from any involvement in negotiations with stakeholders.”

City chief executive Rhonda Hardy said Main Roads and developers from the church group met last week to look at ways to save the trees and still provide safe access to the church.

“Several ideas and options were floated, with further investigations being undertaken in regards to the feasibility,” she said.

“We are hopeful a new design could be approved, which would protect the trees.”

Ms Hardy said the community was encouraged to support the removal of the nearby bus bay and reducing the speed limit on Welshpool Road to 70km/h.

Local resident David Harrison said residents were angry to learn about these discussions via media statements released by the City.

“Considering it has been the community which has fought with passion and conviction to save these majestic trees, this is no way to treat the local community,” he said.

“This is yet another example of the City of Kalamunda treating its ratepayers and the local community with disdain and disrespect.

“We are being asked to trust the council to do the right thing when they were the ones who voted to chop down the trees, and did so without any meaningful community consultation.

“This whole saga has been an episode of buck passing, bureaucratic bungling and a lack of accountability and transparency.”

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