COTTESLOE neighbours could be handed a bill of more than $3000 to look after a council-planted Japanese pepper tree damaging a Torrens Street driveway.
In April, councillors refused a resident’s request to remove the pepper tree, which is classed as a weed because it throws up roots that breach out into new plants on the surface.
The council had offered to repair the drive, and because the tree was not dead or dangerous it did not fit the criteria for felling under the town’s Street Tree Policy.
However, the resident kept coming back to the council asking for the tree to be taken down and suggested a neighbour could share the cost of its replacement in the past six months.
Cr Sandra Boulter said the council needed to “set an example” and bill the cost of replacement trees to the resident, and suggested replacement native peppermint trees be planted either side and allowed to mature before the pepper tree was poisoned in two years.
A staff report said it would cost about $800 to remove the pepper tree, $1125 to plant and maintain one new tree, and there could be more costs if the pepper tree’s old roots continued to send up surface shoots in future years.
However, the resident and his neighbours may still be able to back out of the costs requested by the council.
“My understanding is that if they don’t like any of the conditions put on them nothing will change,” chief executive Mat Humfrey said.
Councillors agreed to request peppermint tree saplings be planted on the verges either side of the pest tree, and the residents cover all costs including when the pest pepper tree is removed.