Midds tree removal on pause

By Michael Roberts | posted on November 26, 2020

PLANS to cut down nine pine trees at Middleton Beach carpark have been put on hold until a special meeting of electors takes place on December 8.

A recent update to the City of Albany’s $9 million Middleton Beach Foreshore enhancement project revealed six Norfolk pines would be removed from the centre of Middleton Beach car park, while a further three would be uprooted adjacent to Flinders Parade.

The City has stated the trees, which are estimated to be around 20-30 years old, are in poor condition and damaging the existing asphalt.

The City plans to replace the pines with at least 15 natives.

Once removed, the Norfolks will be mulched and placed under trees at Apex Drive.

Lower King resident Yana Appleton – who is acting as a spokesperson for a campaign to save the pines – has been busy gaining hundreds of signatures over the last couple of weeks to try and convince the City of Albany to change its mind.

Along with the help of high-profile lawyer John Hammond and One Nation WA Albany candidate Michelle Kinsella, Ms Appleton requested the City hold a special meeting of electors to discuss the matter.

“The six trees in the middle of the car park certainly look to be struggling,” Ms Appleton said.

“Understandably so when covered in asphalt. However, the three larger ones next to Flinders Parade and the one by Three Anchors look to be in perfect health and show no signs of damage to the surrounding areas at all.

“As a last resort, transplant the trees, but only after all the other avenues are exhausted.”

However, the City isn’t backing down on its plans despite the public backlash.

Speaking with the Weekender, City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said he stood by the decision.

“Sometimes to do some remedial work you have to take some action that some people don’t like, but the end result for the community is a much better outcome,” he said.

“This has been ongoing for a couple of years. The consultation has been ongoing in that period of time. To say that people have been blindsided is a bit naive, we don’t do that sort of thing.

“It needs some remedial work and it’s exactly what I think we should be doing.”

To his knowledge, Mr Wellington said the City wasn’t considering replanting the pines, but would wait until the electors meeting before making any final decisions.

The special meeting will be held at council chambers on December 8 from 6.30pm.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 40 people are currently allowed to attend.

Mr Wellington said the City would look at extending that number to 80 if needed.