Save Jackson

MOUNT HAWTHORN locals are petitioning education minister Sue Ellery to save a 75-year-old tree due to be removed to make way for a new two-storey early childhood building at Mount Hawthorn primary school.

The back of the new $3.5 million building is along Scarborough Beach Road and along with making for a closed-off and unattractive street frontage, it’ll mean the big old Port Jackson fig will have to go.

Shelley Blechynden from Trees4Vincent wrote to the Voice, saying that when the School Master Plan was drawn up in 2013, Scarborough Beach Road was a speedy four-laner.

Now it’s two lanes and much calmer and they want the plan revisited.

Ms Blechynden says flipping the build would give more play space, save the tree, improve the view from the street, and improve security, since the grounds will be more visible (there’s been some trouble with skaters sneaking in and damaging stuff because they’re out of view at the moment).

• Trees4Vincent’s Shelley Blechynden and Jodie Ferdinando, who has kids in year six and year three, want this tree kept. Photo by Steve Grant

Ms Ellery says “the member for Perth [John Carey] asked me to consider the relocation of the building suggested by Trees4Vincent, however the location they suggested is not suitable because:

• It would not meet fire separation requirements as the new building would be too close to existing buildings;

• It would create significant over-shadowing of other buildings during winter;

• It would require the removal of more trees; and

• It would amplify traffic noise from Scarborough Beach Road to the new classrooms.”

“The location of the new building was carefully considered to meet fire safety requirements, maximise the northern light, be protected from street noise and allow the sea breeze into the new courtyard,” notes Ms Ellery.

“All of the mature trees on the boundary along Scarborough Beach Road will be retained and new trees will be planted to ensure the school’s green canopy is maximised.”

The petition to save the tree at change.org has had 711 signatures in six days, with many leaving heartfelt messages calling for the Port Jackson fig to be kept.

by DAVID BELL

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