Tears shed as Lathlain Park trees make way for West Coast redevelopment


The felled trees at Lathlain Park as West Coast Eagles begins its redevelopment of the ground. Picture: Matt Jelonek
Tears shed as Lathlain Park trees make way for West Coast redevelopment
The felled trees at Lathlain Park as West Coast Eagles begins its redevelopment of the ground. Picture: Matt Jelonek

THE fight to save trees at Lathlain Park appears to be over after some of them were removed to make way for the West Coast Eagles, who will make their home at the ground.

There were emotional scenes as the some of the trees were cut down yesterday, two days after the WA Planning Commission made a decision to grant approval to the club for their development application to create two ovals.

The Eagles say they need two ovals, one the size of the MCG, to provide access for the AFL club, the Perth Football Club and community use.

A West Coast Eagles spokesman said the club was ready to proceed as soon as the development application was approved.

“As we have been delayed through the process it is important to commence installation of the ovals to enable the turf to grow over summer in preparation of Perth Football Club’s 2017 season,” he said.

Lathlain resident Sue Coltrona said Lathlain Park was the scene of “utter devastation” and there had been an outpouring of sadness online.

“All the trees are lying in a heap, the council have said the West Coast Eagles will salvage and put back into the community through landscaping and urban design, but I want to know they will preserve and maintain them,” she said.

“For the application to be approved on Monday and then for the trees to be cut down on Wednesday, it just feels calculated.

“A lot of the residents are very sad, we are looking for legal advice and that’s where things sit.”

Ms Coltrona said residents who saw the trees come down were very emotional.

“Kids were crying, and even adults and seniors were too,” she said.

“These are not just trees, it’s highlighted how disregarded and disempowered the community has become through this process, and how our new neighbour, the Eagles is being so dismissive.”

Town of Victoria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan said the he was aware of a “small group” of community who were unhappy about the trees being taken down and the council acknowledged their views.

“The Town has also received a large amount of feedback from community members stating they are very happy to see the major component of the $70 million dollar project commenced,” he said.