LETTERS 12.10.19

For Matthew
I WAS working late this afternoon in the back shed.
Nat and I had a feeling to set down the tools and pick up a camera and go to the harbour.
I did not know Matthew Dwyer well (see pages 1 and 3) but I met him a few times around the port.
I felt I should go in a personal memoriam and perhaps quietly dedicate a photograph to him.
In the wild wind and spitting rain on North Mole a single gull flew low across my position and somehow my camera found it. I dedicate this to Matthew – and in appreciation of the heartfelt tributes by Andrew, yourself and other colleagues at the Perth Voice and Fremantle Herald.
Bob Sommerville

Climate control
FOUR WA local governments have now declared a climate emergency so I was surprised by the absence of the environment in the statements by the Stirling mayoral candidates.
I wrote to each candidate who provided an email address and there were quick responses from four candidates (no reply from Terry Tyzack, and Sanjeev Gupta did not provide an email).
I asked about climate change, tree canopy and support for community environment projects.
Thankfully none of the candidates was a climate denier and none tried to justify the shamefully low tree canopy in the City of Stirling.
The four candidates clearly have ideas, want improvements and support more community involvement:
David Lagan had a focus on matching commitments from the state government saying, “With increased urban infill and tree loss possibility I feel strongly that the work we all need to do to maintain stock and grow our urban tree stock should be in the working targets of all levels of government”.  Elizabeth Re showed an understanding of the difficulty of maintaining coverage in a drying climate: “Neither local or state government have in my opinion an affective tree succession plan to ensure that there is always a mixture of mature and young trees and a variety of tree species that can withstand the change in weather conditions and the ability to be water independent”.
Mark Irwin explained that the Stirling tree canopy target was changed “to reflect the current statistics and ensure the truth is being told”, noting that “planning and development regulations are now in place to ensure trees are planted on development sites, and development on public land will require 5 to 1 planting ratios”.
Adam Spagnolo refreshingly admitted he needed to learn more about climate change, adding “I believe that all three tiers of government need to work together to educate people about the dangers of climate change and work on a plan.” While it is reassuring that all candidates want improvements, trees are being cut down on Stirling land every day–often on private properties.
It is difficult to understand how Stirling can stop people building an unapproved fence or shed, but cannot stop them cutting down trees.
I am troubled that candidates do not see these environmental issues as worthy of attention in their electoral campaigns.
It is not too late to let them know that our future depends on more than clubhouses and rate freezes.
Danielle Brady

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