Midds tree removal on pause ~ The Great Southern Weekender

By Michael Roberts | published on November 26, 2020

Plans to fell nine pine trees in the Middleton Beach parking lot have been put on hold pending a special voter meeting on December 8th.

A recent update to the Albany City’s $ 9 million Middleton Beach Foreshore improvement project found that six Norfolk pine trees would be removed from the center of the Middleton Beach car park and three more would be uprooted next to Flinders Parade.

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

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

Once removed, the Norfolks are mulched and placed under trees on Apex Drive.

Lower King-based Yana Appleton, who spokes a campaign to save the pine trees, has garnered hundreds of signatures in the past few weeks trying to convince the city of Albany to change its mind.

With the help of high profile attorney John Hammond and One Nation WA Albany’s candidate Michelle Kinsella, Ms. Appleton called on the city to hold a special meeting of voters to discuss the matter.

“The six trees in the middle of the parking lot certainly seem to be having problems,” Ms. Appleton said.

“Understandably when it’s covered with asphalt. However, the three larger ones next to Flinders Parade and those from Three Anchors appear to be in excellent health and show no signs of damage to the surrounding areas.

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

However, despite the public backlash, the city is not giving up on its plans.

Dennis Wellington, Mayor of Albany City, told the Weekender that he stood by the decision.

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

“That has been the case for a few years. The consultation continued during this period. To say that people were blind is a little naive, we don’t do that.

“It needs some remedial action and that’s what I think we should be doing.”

To the best of his knowledge, Mr. Wellington said the city was not considering replanting the pines but would wait until the election meeting before making any final decisions.

The special session will take place on December 8th from 6.30 p.m. in the council chambers.

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

Mr Wellington said the city will try to increase that number to 80 if necessary.

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