OPPONENTS of plans to widen Guildford Road say it will lead to an unacceptable loss of mature trees, including many native species.
Jonathan Messer from the Sixth Avenue Residents Action Group measured three big gum trees closest to the road around the Maylands town centre and says their girths were between 3.4 and 5.2 metres. He says despite their considerable size and age, they’d have to go to make way for bus and cycling lanes proposed by the WA Planning Commission.
“Considering the thousands of years of tree growth that was removed from the nearby Constable Care site for development, I feel we as a community need to act to protect these trees,” Mr Messer wrote on the SARAG’s Facebook group.
Resident Graeme Reany drove the length of the proposed widening and says people would be shocked by how many large trees in both public and private land would be affected. He says the WAPC has made it clear that anything that would hang over the road reserve has to go.
Mr Reany says apart from the trees in the town centre, there’s a small park near the bus stop on the corner of Guildford Road and Gordon Street that will lose much of a big stand of ghost gums as well as half a dozen fully-matured leafy trees. Although only one gum is along Guildford Road, a truncation on Gordon Street would impact about three or four others.
Bayswater council is still assessing the impact of the widening, but has promised to consider the trees in its analysis.
“If the amendment was implemented in its current form it is inevitable that there would be some tree losses. However the proposed new layout would also provide wider verges and medians with opportunities for new tree plantings to replace those lost,” mayor Barry McKenna said.
Greg Smith (aka ‘The Lorax’) is an admin at the Bayswater Urban Tree Network, and says the shade and “sense of place” provided by big native trees is of “fundamental importance” to Maylands.
“In an area that’s like a fucking desert, these are two very special trees. They are part of the entrance into Bayswater and part of the town … those trees are super important to the history of Maylands,” Mr Smith said.
“You should be using them, not cutting them down. They’re your iconic trees that you should develop a sense of place on Guildford Road around.
“One of those trees gives more than 50 metres of shade.
“If you take the urban heat island effect seriously, and I don’t know how you couldn’t, if you cut down one mature tree, to get that shade you’d have to plant more than 10.”
Mr Smith is also the Mt Lawley candidate for Julie Matheson’s WA Party, and he likes to haunt Halliday Park wearing his Lorax costume to grieve for the row of trees prematurely “euthanised” by Bayswater council.
He’s now planning to bring the Dr Seuss character to Maylands town centre.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM and STEVE GRANT