YET another prominent garden denuded to make way for a subdivision in Bayswater has put the WA Planning Commission under the spotlight over its lack of protection for trees.
The latest significant clearing was the front half of 13 Swan View Terrace, which Maylands residents Katy and Murray Riggall describe as an “iconic Maylands garden” in a letter to the Voice.
“Many residents have been deeply saddened and angered at the loss of up to 10 mature trees,” they wrote.
“Over the past decade or so we have seen block after block cleared, removing all trees to make way for multiple dwellings.
“Regulations to protect trees from clearing are urgently needed. This would help prevent Maylands from becoming an urban heat island, protect wildlife diversity, maintain river health, suburban character and of course provide us with the oxygen and clean air we need.”
Bayswater council wrote to the WAPC in April last year following the deforestation of the Carters’ Block, urging the state’s planning mandarins to put more value on greenery.
Councillors wanted “tree retention and protection” written into the WAPC’s guidelines on subdivisions, which are currently under review.
Mayor Dan Bull tells us they didn’t get any response, but still push the barrow.
“In referring subdivision applications to the WAPC for approval, the city strongly advises it considers the issue of tree retention at this step in the process.
“Ultimately it’s their decision.”
Mr Bull said they’ve continued to make efforts on the local front: “The city has introduced a provision in its town planning scheme and a planning policy – Trees on Private Property – that encourages the retention of trees on private property and requires the planting of new trees on any new development.”
The encouragement is that if you keep a worthy tree, you can plant one fewer new tree than would normally be required (or two fewer if the one you’re keeping is particularly worthy).
The council has also updated its significant tree register to allow trees on private land to be included, but only the current owner can nominate a tree so those intending to clear are unlikely to sign up.
Following local backlash over the clearing, the owners of 13 Swan View Tce popped a letter in neighbours’ letterboxes saying they had wanted to keep a mature tree at the front, but it had been damaged in recent storms.
By DAVID BELL