East Fremantle Condemns Acts of Vandalism on Trees - $5,000 Reward for Information Leading to Successful Prosecution

Published on Wednesday, 9 December 2020 at 11:22:13 AM

The Town of East Fremantle has condemned the latest incident of street tree vandalism, hoping to deter future destructive acts and is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to a successful prosecution to encourage anyone who may have witnessed the damage to come forward and report it.

This week it was reported that one of the newly planted Cook Island Pines along Riverside Road had been damaged.  The tree was only planted weeks ago, at a cost of $2,700, and the Council is frustrated that rate-payer’s money will be wasted to cover the cost of the tree’s replacement.

“From the damage done to the tree, it can be surmised that this was done to stop its growth,” Mayor O’Neill said.  “We will replace this tree immediately and will investigate installing CCTV in the area to deter future offences like this and to record such incidents.”

He explained that as part of the refurbishment of Riverside Road, a project worth $1.9 million, new trees were planted along Riverside Road that will grow up in future decades to eventually replace the tall palms currently in situ along the iconic waterfront strip.

The Town engaged consultants to prepare a landscaping plan, that had been subject to community consultation, with feedback from residents incorporated into the final version prior to planting commencing.

Mayor O’Neill advised that the species in question, Cooke Island Pine, was a species approved by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and that its growth profile would have the least impact on views, which will be minimal given that the trees are planted more than 20 metres apart.

He explained that the Town has a range of valuable tree assets, and the Town makes these investments for many reasons including offsetting the urban heat effect, to provide habitat to attract local birds and animals, to provide shade for users of the area and to add to the Town’s visual appeal.

“We are very upset that someone would take it upon themselves to damage a living, beautiful tree in this way,” Mayor O’Neill said.  He explained further that the Town, like many other local governments, was dealing with tree vandalism as an ongoing problem and that it was time to speak out and take action.

He said that penalties apply to anyone caught vandalising Town property – including trees – with infringements and criminal prosecution among the measures available to Council.

“I encourage anyone who witnesses acts of vandalism in our Town, whether it is to trees or other property, to take a note of the details of the date and time, description of the alleged vandals and to take a video recording where possible so that this information can be shared with Rangers and WA Police,” he said.

Witnesses are encouraged to contact Town Rangers by phone to 9339 9339 or by email to admin@eastfremantle.wa.gov.au

damaged tree

The tree on Riverside Road was hacked off at mid-height to prevent future growth.

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