Alarm as tree roots spread

Tapping residents are concerned for the safety of their homes saying they have noticed large tree roots encroaching on their properties.
Tapping residents are concerned for the safety of their homes saying they have noticed large tree roots encroaching on their properties.

Geoff Newman said his street Nankeen Circle was lined with London plane trees and he had noticed damage to the street’s footpaths and his retaining wall.

He said the City of Wanneroo had been called to fix sections of the footpaths on many occasions and that a member of the City’s conservation management team told him the damage to the footpaths was caused by tree roots, but assured him the damage to his retaining wall was not.

‘He also said the close-to-the-surface roots were probably only thumb-sized,’ he said.

However, Mr Newman said this was not the case after City workers had removed some of the pavers for repair.

‘There were so many tree roots on the surface, some of which were thicker than a man’s thigh, and they were heading off towards our retaining walls and properties,’ he said.

‘It became obvious after much research by ourselves, that the roots from the large London plane trees were becoming invasive and destructive.’

He said replacing the footpaths was not enough because the root system was still intact and so the residents of Nankeen Circle had organised a petition to have the trees removed.

‘We love trees but this is our property, our home, and we will do anything to protect our house,’ Mr Newman said.

Wanneroo infrastructure acting director Rob Korenhof said the City had received complaints from two Nankeen Circle residents and it had carried out repairs to sections of the footpath and arranged for an independent arborist to assess the trees.

Planning and sustainability director Len Kosova said in February 2004 the City approved a street tree master plan, lodged by a landscape architect acting on behalf of the developer, with the condition that the London plane trees be limited to the main street and a different species be planted on secondary roads.

‘In March 2004, the landscape architect submitted detailed landscaping drawings for the City’s approval under a covering letter that stated the drawings complied with the City’s conditional approval,’ he said. ‘The City consequently approved the detailed landscaping drawings in May 2004.’

However, since re-examining the drawings after an inquiry from the Times, City administration has found they do not comply with the City’s conditions because the drawings depicted London plane trees being planted in Nankeen Circle, which was not part of the approved street tree master plan.

At the April 30 council meeting, Cr Dianne Guise presented the 29-signature petition, requesting the removal of the London plane trees outside homes on Nankeen Circle and replacing them with smaller trees.

A report from City Administration is scheduled for the June 25 meeting, with a briefing to be held tonight at the Wanneroo Civic Centre.