CLARET ash trees without enough root space to grow properly will have to be uprooted and replaced along the prime shopping strip of Napoleon Street in Cottesloe in the next 2-3 years.
“We’ll be in a lot of trouble if we can’t provide that space,” Cr Rob Thomas said at the council’s meeting on Tuesday.
In August last year, initial inspection and subsequent aborists’ reports, together costing $10,300, said the young trees planted to create a shading canopy in the boutique and café strip, were not “thriving” because of “poor nursery managements and unsuitable planting conditions”.
The second report said the trees’ trunks, roots and crowns were damaged, the soil may be unsuitable and lacking in volume, and there was a “toxicity” to the fertiliser.
However, the council decided to wait for a third report from tree pathologist ArborCarbon, that was still to arrive before councillors considered hiring a landscape architect to choose a new tree species last Tuesday.
Cr Sally Pylvis was unconvinced a decision could be made before the report, and argued for the decision to be deferred until a “league table” of suitable replacement trees .
However, Cr Mark Rodda objected about another potential delay preventing staff hiring the landscape architect.
“As a council we get stuck, we get stuck all the time, and it drives me crazy,” Cr Rodda said.
It was agreed only to accept the report subject to its findings.
Any replacement trees will have structured cells of soil for root space, soak wells to capture rain, and their installation is likely to disrupt business and close the street.
Staff said the landscape architect was needed now to advise on the new trees and any for parallel Station Street, for which the council adopted its refurbishment strategy at the meeting,
Asked why the claret ashes were chosen and the cost of replacement, a council spokeswomen said those with soakwells were planted in the 1980s, and were not part of a more recent upgrade.
She said the council would not comment further until it knew the replacements’ type and size.