THE removal of an 80-year-old Liquidambar tree, which breached planning approval for a development at 222 Labouchere Road in Como, has caused community outrage.
In October, 2017, Aveling Homes was granted approval for three single-storey grouped dwellings under the condition the mature Liquidambar Styraciflua at the front of the property be retained to satisfy the dual density performance criteria for a higher density coding of R30 at the property.
On February 15, Brajkovich Demolition and Salvage removed the tree from the property.
David McInerney, a resident of 224 Labouchere Road, immediately notified the City of South Perth of the removal.
He said he was troubled by the response he received and the perceived lack of concern from City officers.
“This is an act of reckless vandalism,” Mr McInerney said.
“I requested the council suspend all works on the site until a full investigation of the circumstances was undertaken however was told the City was unable to suspend the building works, as the matter was not a breach in terms of the building permit works.
“I am furious, as are the other owners in our complex, as the tree not only provided welcome shade, but had tremendous historical value.”
In an email to Mr McInerney following the incident, City of South Perth planning officer Val Gillum wrote: ‘As Aveling Homes is in breach of a planning approval condition, the City will now proceed to have them remedy the breach (and) will continue to work with (them) to reach an outcome that will satisfactorily address the requirements of the Planning Scheme, which will ultimately result in a replacement tree of an advanced size and of an approved species’.
Aveling Homes general manager Sean Quartermaine said the tree was removed because it was damaged.
“We are now required to replace (the tree) and are in the process of resolving this issue,” he said.
Mr McInerney said it seemed developers knew there were limited punitive actions councils could apply, so proceed with an ‘anything goes’ attitude.
“Now we are worried what they are going to do with the rest of the development; if they are willing to breach one condition why not all,” he said.