Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, environment, trees by freoview on March 8, 2016

The City of Stirling, one of Perth’s largest councils, is in the process of implementing an Urban Forest Strategy to ensure the tree canopy in Stirling will significantly increase over the next years, as the benefits to the community are considered to be high.

I believe there are some very good suggestions that the City of Fremantle should also consider. One of them is that developers would have to replace the trees they remove from sites by planting new ones on public land and verges adjacent to the development sites.

Other suggestions are that developers would have to plant one tree per 500 square metres on development sites, and that Council should give incentives to retain existing trees and also start an education program.

A disturbing fact is that two third of trees removed are removed from residential land.

I don’t believe the word tree alone is good enough and that trees planted by developers have to be mature trees of a minimum age, not just tiny saplings.

On a different note, the City of Stirling has joined the City of Vincent, City of Bayswater and the Town of Mosman Park to lobby State Government to abolish the undemocratic DAPs, or significantly change the process that ignores the wishes of the community. Why has the City of Fremantle not spoken out against the Development Assessment Panels? Might it be because it is convenient to blame the DAPs for inappropriate buildings in Fremantle and Council can wash its hands off it that way?

Roel Loopers

11 Responses

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  1. Mark said, on March 10, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Jayne great points so many talk the talk but never walk the walk,
    You have to laugh at those who say embrace density yet live in a house.
    Or say parking is no problem as the park in private reserved parking bays.
    Or lower your carbon footprint and jump on a plane at the drop of a hat, well as long as the rate payers are funding the bill.
    Or promote drive EV but own an combustion engine car and have the rate payers pay for your second car which is EV.
    Funny just one person using having two cars while he wants to limit a whole families to just one vehicle.

    Talks about a green plan for our city while they decimate our urban tree canopy and concrete our parks?
    Does any of this sound like hypocrisy?


  2. Jayne said, on March 10, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Hello Bryn, I think it would be great to have a councillor or two live in a big block of units for a few years so I do hope you can move there and live the dream. Too often the decision makers tell people to welcome high density living, to catch public transport to work, that parking in Freo is easy etc. Then you find out they all live in nice houses with a couple of cars and drive to work where they have free reserved parking.

    It would be a pleasant change to see more leaders and decision makers walk model behaviour rather than preach it, to walk the talk. I see below Andrew S says he has planted trees. Had he not then added his ever-present swipe at the community he is paid to represent and an (unjustified) assumption of moral superiority, it might have been viewed as positive.


  3. freoview said, on March 10, 2016 at 6:42 am

    The same applies to the new buildings that will go up in Beach Street soon, Bryn.



  4. freoman said, on March 9, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    The new northern entrance is presumably QV street. It is 5 minutes walk from the Leisure Centre, Fremantle Park, the bowling club, tennis club and new recently funded workers club joint club rooms. Also near Fremantle Arts Centre and not too far from the station. I think that would be a good place to live.


  5. freoishome said, on March 9, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Thanks Andrew.


  6. Mark said, on March 9, 2016 at 12:13 am

    Every city in Australia has rail and ports just like freo, not mention Airports etc.
    Freo still rates in the worse 2 in the country, that’s not me saying it, that’s the 202020 report,

    What we should also consider is, since that study was done, Fremantle has gotten worse on 2 fronts,
    Hard surface covering and tree canopy.
    By concreting the esplanade and new plans to concrete over more parkland for basket balls courts
    Not to mention the white gum valley chainsaw outing, cutting down over 100 matures trees on just one block.
    The amount of water and effort to get these trees to maturity will be huge, we just recently saw a report that only 10% of trees planted by council make to a mature stage. So surely its smarter to keep the ones we have.

    I may not have planted as many trees as councilor S but I have never voted to approved to cut down as many as he has either, nor driven council to concrete over park lands.

    Though I have planted 15+ trees on my block in Freo, while struggling with council for over 5yrs to get one dead tree removed from the verge and get a new one planted. Participated in local tree plantings and schools, garden program, not bad from my arm chair. but i guess anyone who doesn’t agree with council or has an opinion must be a leaner?

    The whole infill of old suburbs is a leading cause of the loss of tree canopy while increasing the suburban heat sink effect.

    Just look at suburbs in places like Spearwood that haven’t yet driven the old family blocks being divided into 2-4 smaller blocks with all vegetation removed and just concrete replacing it.
    Our councils obsession with concrete is clear just look at the Esplanade how many councils in Australia are concreting their parks??

    I went to high school in Freo in the early eighties and the amount of trees in backyards in the suburbs was far greater than it is now, so I’m not quite sure where the councillor is talking of “there was barely a tree to speak of”, as backyards where full of fruit trees and neighbors enjoying their pickings, far more then than now. As we see groups now like the valley orchard trying to bring back the good old days, when neighbours shared backyard bounties as quick as good morning, bringing back homemade favourites, jams, preserves, bottle fruits, olive oils, pickles the list is endless
    So we have gone from the 2nd worse rating by the 202020, report, to councillors S report of “yet we are about half way down the path of making it a very lush suburb”
    Here’s a link to google earth, just look north, south, east of freo and see what’s looks greener, it’s not hard to see, plain for any who care to look, a picture easily counters a thousand words of spin.

    I do agree with Andrew on the idea of transplanting mature trees. I don’t think it really works that well.


  7. Andrew Sullivan said, on March 8, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    A few points:

    Freo’s low canopy coverage is partly because we have a lot of port and railway lands (former & current) within the city and you’ll be hard pressed to find too many trees there. We also have a good amount of industrial land and comparatively narrow streets in some heritage areas and this also impacts on the canopy cover. That said, Council’s new Green Plan recognises that we must significantly increase the canopy on both public and private land. Council looks set to back that plan with a significant shift in budgets.

    The argument put forward by some commentators that higher densities are bad for the environment tends to take a very narrow view of things. Personally, I’m far more concerned about the impact of relentless destruction of our natural areas on the fringes of the metropolitan area than I am about accounting for every single tree in Fremantle. The target that 50% of new housing should be developed as infill is still too few and too late. Our state needs to invest heavily in making infill development far more attractive by focussing transport dollars on rail services to areas where infill can occur rather than expanding our freeways.

    When I arrived in South Fremantle in 1985, there was barely a tree to speak of and yet we are about half way down the path of making it a very lush suburb. South Fremantle started its densification at about that time. We’ve seen both densification and tree planting go hand in hand and I see no reason why that won’t continue.

    Some of the Council’s recent scheme amendments and policies have included new requirements for deep-root planting areas as an integral part of any infill. We need to ensure that suitable area is provided in developments for tree planting. We also need to mandate that developers plant trees and maintain them. Specifying the minimum number of trees required according to land area is a great suggestion that could compliment the deep-root zone requirements we’re currently considering.

    On the matter of tree maturity, transplanting mature trees is largely a gimmick used to create instant impact but is not a good use of resources overall. It is far better to plant young trees and maintain them well for the first few years. You also get a lot more trees for the same price.

    I’ve planted many more trees in Fremantle than the vast majority of residents. I’d be very happy to see some of your armchair critics get out there and do the same.


  8. freoview said, on March 8, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Yes more tree-lined streets would be of great benefit to pedestrians and cyclists and Queen Victoria Street should also be lined with trees to break up the modern development, especially the very long facade of the Defence Housing project. It will also help reduce heat inside the buildings, but I suppose residents would complain about the loss of views.

    We could also plant a tree for evert new primary student and even have their name under it, so they will take ownership and their children and grandchildren can see it was planted by mum, or grandma.



  9. Jayne said, on March 8, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Two excellent points Roel. As you know, Freo has the distinction of having one of the lowest levels of tree canopy in Australia and as far as I know, not a single public garden of any merit. Yet community consultation repeatedly points to trees and shady green spaces as being a high priority to residents. I recall the mayor a couple of years back writing a blog saying he believed there were sufficient green spaces in Freo and the parks werent popular anyway. (I noted lawn at a major road intersection was included in his audit. Hardly surprising people werent sitting there enjoying the fumes!) Maybe this is why tree canopy isnt a high priority for this council. The new northern entrance to Freo for example is being developed without any significant green spaces. That is another opportunity lost.

    What could be implemented? Pioneer Park and Kings Square are just two obvious central places that could be turned into outstanding gardens, South Terrace could be turned into a shady tree lined avenue, hold an adopt-a-tree program in the suburbs. The shared pathway between South Freo Beach and Bathers Beach could be vastly improved with the addition of a few hundred shade trees. Either project could be a good use of the million dollar budget council is planning to throw at a community-determined project. At least these would become significant, permanent assets to Freo and unlike other council projects, these would benefit many residents.


  10. freoview said, on March 8, 2016 at 10:15 am

    There is no doubt in my mind that increasing density is necessary all over the Perth metro area, Mark, but it needs to be done the right way, with restraint and in suitable areas only. The problem is that most locals don’t want increased density near where they live, so it will always be controversial.

    I have warned before on this blog that State Government might legislate if Councils don’t follow their directive of increasing density, and take over from local government. I believe that could be disastrous.

    We only recently had a discussion here about the development around Knutsford, Amherst, Blinco, an area I believe can handle high density, but you and others were vehemently against it, so where do you suggest higher density is appropriate in Fremantle?



  11. Mark said, on March 8, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Roel our council is hell bent on density increase, no matter what policy they have, they would just ignore them when it suited them
    Just look at the Kim Beazley site, they recieved over 150 local written submissions not to approve the plan that cut down over 100 trees on the site, on just one block
    They did it anyway community wishes be damn, it’s all about density at any cost
    Now we hear the mayor talking about what a great example the project is for the environment, he just steps over the lost tree canopy that will take decades too replace if at all.
    Cutting down urban tree canopies good for the environment? No spin there right?
    Especially when we see a about a 10% survival rate of new trees planted by councils.
    City of Fremantle would be pretty hard pressed to blame the DAP for our areas tree canopy lose, but being the masters of spin they are it would not be hard to believe


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