Stirling pitch for tree trial

STIRLING council is lobbying the state government to take part in a one-for-one tree-planting trial on median strips and schools in the city.

This month council wrote to the government requesting that they match trees planted by the city on a section of median strip on Reid Highway, and on Takari Primary School in Balcatta.

In October Stirling mayor Mark Irwin voiced his concern about tree loss on state-controlled land, including schools and freeways, due to public works.

Cr Andrew Guilfoyle is hoping the one-for-one scheme will be eventually extended to all state-owned schools and median strips in the city, as it has lost 1.2 million sqm of tree canopy over the last six years.

“If the trial works the city gets more free trees to help reach its 18 per cent tree canopy target,” he says.

“We know even if the city planted all its verge and parks and reserves spaces by 2030, it wouldn’t have enough spaces to plant to reach the 18 per cent target. The target requires more spaces.”

However city officers are concerned that the one-for-one scheme would reduce the amount of trees planted on residents’ verges, and about the complexities of planting trees on state-owned land, including them being removed before the end of their natural life.

Cr Guilfoyle says that no residents would miss out in a “budget neutral” scheme and that data shows that abut 22 per cent of people don’t want trees on their verge anyway.

He also notes that trees on median strips are less likely to be targeted.

“There is quite a high attrition rate, like removal, poisoning, damage on trees planted on our verges and in our parks and reserves.

“I would expect this rate of attrition is higher than would happen on state government land such as schools and median strips.”

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