Tree cut down despite objections

Tree cut down despite objections

Before and after: the 50-year-old tree was demolished last week to make way for the Southern River Business Park.

A Southern River resident said she was sickened when she saw a 30-metre-high Rose Gum in shreds lying beside the road in her street last week.

The 50-year-old tree was earmarked for destruction by the City of Gosnells to make way for the Southern River Business Park.

At the time of the decision, council said it was not a local tree and had no environmental value and was blocking access to a side road needed for the business park.

Southern River resident Susan Game said it was sickening to see this magnificent old rose gum cut down.

“Despite the Electors in the City of Gosnells requesting Council to “retain and protect” this old Rose Gum tree, along with other bushes and native trees situated along the verge of Matison Street, Council rejected the Electors motion,” Susan Game said.

“This was on the advice and recommendation from the chief executive that it was not viable to make any adjustments to circumvent the Rose Gum and ‘companion’ trees.

“He provided conceptual plans and awe-inspiring figures claiming this would cost over $3 million.

“These figures were not queried by council at the meeting, nor was integrity of this proposed destruction,” she said.

Susan Game said she is concerned about rising temperatures in her neighbourhood with the vegetation now gone.

“The heat on this road during February 2024 was a measured 46 degrees centigrade.   This will only increase with no trees for protection,” she said.

“The council advised that no compensation would be considered for those living on the new main road and opposite the Concrete Business Park.

“In fact, council feel that they are enhancing the area.”

Matison Street is being widened, and therefore the ATCO Gas Main along the length of this 2km road needs to be encased at the city’s expense.

Access roads to the Business Park will be built to take the anticipated heavy traffic on what was a country road.

City of Gosnells mayor Terresa Lynes said the city explored all options before making the decision to remove the tree.

“The city explored all the potential options to retain the Rose Gum, however the cheapest option would have cost approximately $3 million as it involved realigning the gas main that services Southern River and redesigning and relocating proposed road improvements. This was considered to be too costly,” mayor Lynes said.

The council said other options where the road was completely re-routed were also too costly and would have caused more environmental damage to local endemic species, or both.

In response to concerns about lack of local tree coverage in the area, the city said it is addressing the issue as part of its Public Tree Strategy in local parks and streets.

“In accordance with this Strategy, in 2023, the City planted a record 160,000 trees and plants,” mayor Lynes said.

“This was 65,000 more trees and plants than the previous year. Once fully mature, these trees will provide an additional 72ha of canopy in the city.

“Recently, the city has placed more emphasis on planting larger endemic trees to support local fauna such as Black Cockatoo populations, particularly in areas such as the City’s parks and reserves.”

The 51-lot Southern River Business Park represents the culmination of two decades of planning by the City of Gosnells and is the largest commercial development undertaken by the city to date.

The land used to create the business park is owned by the city and zoned for commercial and light industrial purposes.

The Southern River Business Park is due to be completed early next year.