Innaloo couple upset with City of Stirling for pruning olive tree before harvest


Raffaele and Maria Papalia (Innaloo) with their olive tree. Picture: Martin Kennealey d481882
Raffaele and Maria Papalia (Innaloo) with their olive tree. Picture: Martin Kennealey d481882

AN Innaloo couple is upset the City of Stirling pruned their olive tree just a couple of weeks before their planned harvest.

Maria and Raffaele Papalia planted the tree on the verge outside their home 20 years ago and press the olives each year to make oil.

They were horrified to find recently that tree branches bearing olives had been removed without warning.

“We’ve lost our olives to press for oil,” Mrs Papalia said.

“For us it’s like doing away with good fruit.”

She was unsure why the City had pruned the tree as it had not done so previously and her husband maintains it.

Mrs Papalia said they originally planted the tree “as a fun thing” and others followed suit, including the developer of the neighbouring aged care facility and even the City, which planted 14 olive trees as part of a recent project because it was the predominant species on the street.

They had approached their neighbours to harvest their tree too as about 5kg of olives were needed to produce one litre of oil.

“There probably won’t be enough to make a decent crushing,” she said.

City infrastructure director Michael Littleton said they had since contacted the couple and agreed not to prune the trees when fruiting.

“This will allow the Papalias to continue to harvest the fruit into the future,” he said.

“The City is happy for residents to pick olive tree fruit from the City’s olive street trees for personal consumption as long as it is done safely, away from busy roads and the trees are not damaged.”

Mr Littleton said the City had a responsibility to ensure street trees were adequately maintained and worked to a pruning schedule.

“This includes trees that bear fruit, as not all residents harvest them and low hanging or cast-off fruit can impact street sightlines and pedestrian/wheelchair access,” he said.

“If a resident has been pruning their street tree regularly, as is the case with the Papalias, then there may not have be any need for the City to do so.

“However, in this instance the City would have deemed pruning necessary.”

He said residents could request their fruiting trees not be pruned and could be incorporated into the pruning schedule “if deemed viable”.

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