KARRINYUP residents continue to express disappointment over the removal of 50 trees at Karrinyup Shopping Centre.
They were among nearly 50 ratepayers at last week’s City of Stirling’s electors’ meeting, where questions by resident Leisha Jack revealed the City was aware the trees along Francis Avenue and Davenport Street were being cut down and approved removal of three additional trees on its land in return for $30,000, based on the Helliwell method of valuing a tree.
Infrastructure director Michael Littleton said the City discouraged tree removal, but noted the $800 million redevelopment was a “significant” project.
The City has been working to increase trees and has a policy requiring developers plant one ‘advanced tree’ per 500sq m.
But planning director Ross Povey said this would not apply to centre developer AMP Capital because Metro-North West Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) approval was granted in 2015 before the policy was introduced.
AMP Capital’s WA development manager Scott Nugent told the Times the trees needed to be removed to meet road widening requirements and more than 500 trees would be planted across the centre site.
A spokeswoman said that this would include the planting of two mature trees above 8 metres tall and 45 trees that would be 3 to 6 metres high when mature.
He expected the final landscaping plan to be completed late next year, which would detail tree species.
Ms Jack, on behalf of Stirling Urban Tree Network, has launched a petition calling on the Planning Minister and Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin to ensure the “magnificent stand of tuart trees” and other large shade trees remain at the corner of Davenport and Burroughs Road.
She argued the trees to be planted were not mature and said it was “difficult to imagine” where the 500 trees would be planted given the development scale.
“Some of the 50 or so actual mature trees they removed would have been 30 metres or more,” she said.
“It is incredible to think these developments can be approved, trees removed, including council trees (for a price) and sites bulldozed before actual landscaping plans have been submitted, only indicative plans.
“Big shady street trees are very important for community health and wellbeing.
“They also have a very important cooling effect, and provide important amenity value, which would be required in this case especially, to screen big imposing buildings in residential streets.”
Mr Nugent said all trees around the Northcourt building would be retained.
“Our door is always open. Any of these concerns that come forward, we pay attention to them,” he said.
“There are a lot of community benefits that come out of a project of this scale.”
He listed benefits including job creation and increased amenity with dining and entertainment venues open until midnight.
Cr Irwin said the landscaping plan would be required before building approval was granted.
“This will ensure AMP provides both mature transplanted trees and landscaping as agreed in the development application,” he said.
“The City will inspect landscaping works being carried out over the course of the redevelopment to ensure that AMP complies with the conditions imposed by JDAP.”
AMP Capital’s Scott Nugent also addressed parking concerns and said the reason for starting construction close to Christmas was to enable the first stage to open before Christmas 2019.
The City is receiving payment for centre staff parking at Jeanes-Prisk Reserve while AMP Capital seeks an alternative.