Tree spared from the axe in Gwelup

Leisha Jack from the Stirling Urban Tree Network with resident Rohan Hollick.                       d445738
Leisha Jack from the Stirling Urban Tree Network with resident Rohan Hollick.                       d445738

GWELUP residents saved an old beloved flooded gum tree from the chainsaw last week.

The tree was scheduled to be chopped down last Tuesday morning on behalf of Bethanie Group and Scarborough Church of Christ to make way for an aged care facility.

But local group Stirling Urban Trees Network became aware of the removal and alerted residents.

Rohan Hollick was one of many locals who contacted Bethanie Group and urged the organisation to save the tree.

Mr Hollick, who lives next to the tree, said residents were not informed of its removal.

“I found out on Sunday. It was all action stations from that point; I contacted the neighbours who wanted to save it,” he said.

“It’s the easiest and cheapest option for developers. They’ve got the machines to knock down in 20 minutes something that’s taken 200 years to grow.

“Funnily enough, Bethanie have a tree as their logo.”

Mr Hollick said he wanted to save the tree as it provided shade to his property and brought bird life to the area.

Bethanie Group and Scarborough Church of Christ decided to defer removing the tree. Bethanie chief executive Chris How said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the expressions of care and offered to find ways to keep the tree.

Scarborough Church of Christ Pastor Paul Sanders said the church formalised a partnership with Bethanie to redevelop the land in 2013.

“When the clearing of the land occurred in October. 2014, we requested one of the trees on the eastern edge of the property be retained,” Pastor Sanders said.

“Once the building process began, it became apparent that this may not be possible.

“We have been encouraged by the feedback from local residents asking us to do whatever we can to save the tree.”

Stirling Urban Tree Network convenor Leisha Jack was pleased the removal was deferred but hoped a solution to retain it could be found.

“If they get a good arboricultural consultant and follow the Australian Standards for Protecting Trees on Development Sites guidelines, the tree should be fine,” Ms Jack said.

“As urban temperatures continue to rise, big shade trees will be highly prized and add even more value to properties than they do now.”

City of Stirling planning and development director Ross Povey said the City made contact with the landowner and encouraged them to retain the tree as it was within the Church’s proposed community garden area.

“The retention or removal of the tree is ultimately a decision for the private landowner,” Mr Povey said.

“The City is currently developing a Local Planning Policy to address tree management on development sites in future.”

The site, on the corner of Huntriss and Karrinyup roads in Gwelup, will be a 112-bed aged care centre.