Tree policy welcomed

Tree policy welcomed

CITY of Stirling councillors have unanimously supported a “comprehensive tree protection policy” that will eventually mandate tree retention and see trees placed on a protection register.

The move comes after the City released data showing 290ha of tree canopy could be lost on private land if development continued at the current rate.

Cr Samantha Jenkinson, who originally put forward the 18 per cent tree canopy target the City has adopted, said tree retention should be classed as an amenity for the community.

“We are the first council who are actually taking a bite of this cherry, which is fantastic,” Cr Jenkinson said.

Cr Jenkinson said the City should put the same effort into protecting trees as they did on providing adequate parking.

She put forward an alternative recommendation supporting the plan, despite council officers advising the council to support a less detailed option.

Councillors supported the comprehensive plan, which requires significant trees to be placed on a protected register.

Cr Jenkinson said while councillors all supported the plan, it required more research, which could be done over the next four to five years.

“The reason I’ve put forward the motion is that it gives us the chance to work on the details, which people are over a four- to five-year period, while not leaving us doing nothing in the interim,” she said.

Stirling Urban Tree Network convener Leisha Jack said she was happy the comprehensive plan was considered for the future.

“It’s great the City has put this on the agenda, but they have to be careful with stalling tactics,” she said.

I would have liked to see some agreement to do a public education program so people understand why they should keep trees in the first place.

“The City has done well on raising the profile of this important issue.”

Joondalup resident and tree activist Rainer Repke said he wanted other councils to follow in the footsteps of the City of Stirling and implement tree policies.

“It is very good that the city starts to do to this; it is the first city to do this in WA,” he said.

“It is a really positive move and hopefully it will spread to the other councils.”

Mr Repke said he wanted to see the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo implement similar policies as soon as possible.

The draft Trees and Development Planning Policy will be open for public comment.