Attadale resident accuses City of Melville of acting like ‘cowboys’ after tree cut down, but City defends action


Attadale resident Hilary Ross with all that is left of a tree removed by the local council on Monday.

The tree before it was cut down.
Attadale resident Hilary Ross with all that is left of a tree removed by the local council on Monday. The tree before it was cut down.

AN ATTADALE resident says the City of Melville acted like “cowboys” when it removed a tree from a Loyola Way verge, but the council has argued it was only prioritising public safety.

Resident Hilary Ross said she was shocked after it took just 15 minutes to turn a “healthy” lemon scented gum tree into woodchips on Monday.

“(The tree) was about 50 years old. It was in perfect health and a beautiful specimen,” she said.

Ms Ross said the mature tree provided shade, a home to birds and was an asset to the area.

She said she did not know why the council removed the tree, across the road from Wal Hughes Reserve, rather than prune it back.

“It’s the cowboy approach,” she said.

“It’s not best practice; it’s about getting a result as cheaply and as fast as possible.”

A woman living on the property adjacent to the verge where the tree was said her housemate made a report to council after branches were swept on to cars during Perth’s recent bad weather.

City of Melville’s acting chief executive Christine Young said an inspection, prompted by the resident, found the tree was in poor form structurally and there was evidence of decay.

She said the tree, “roughly 25 years old”, had a number of recent limb failures “exacerbated during recent extreme weather events”.

With the tree next to a pedestrian access way and the risk of further failures, she said the City had to make public safety the priority.

“Unfortunately remedial pruning options were not available as they would have resulted in the loss of main structural limbs,” she said.

But Ms Ross argued nothing more than “twigs” had fallen from the tree.

“If you were building a fire at home, you’d pick it up and use it as kindling,” she said.

“It wasn’t a large branch.”

Ms Young said the decision was difficult, especially because the City was looking to retain and increase canopy coverage.

She said the tree will be replaced during the 2018 winter planting program.

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