Mayor Condemns Tree Terrorism in East Fremantle - Penalties for Offenders and Rewards for Information

Published on Thursday, 1 April 2021 at 11:44:23 AM

The Town of East Fremantle has once again been targeted by tree vandals and is calling on local residents and the general public to help find those responsible.

In the second such act in four months, six new trees planted along Riverside Road have suffered deliberate damage that will cost Council more than $10,000 to replace including the cost of new trees and staff time.

The Town has condemned the acts that occurred on 31 March in the strongest terms and is encouraging residents who may witness vandalism to come forward and report it, and is offering a reward for information.  This is the second act of tree vandalism in recent months - in early December 2020, one of the newly planted Norfolk Pines along Riverside Road was damaged and had to be replaced.

Mayor Jim O’Neill expressed his concern and frustration at the repeated act of tree vandalism at the same location and outlined steps Council will take to deter such acts in future.

“I simply cannot believe that anyone would do such a thing. The Town is trying to mitigate climate change as well as provide shade along the river and habitats for animals and this is done. This is the worst type of vandalism and we must, as a community, take a stand against these selfish and utterly senseless acts. This is the height of cowardice. It may be reasonable to speculate that these acts were done in a misguided attempt to protect views,” he said, “but we are determined that the landscaping plan in this area – which was subject to extensive community consultation in 2020 – will go ahead as planned.”

He clarified that the landscaping plan for the area plan made it clear that the impact of the plantings on views would be minimal and that the trees would not even come into view for river-side residents for 50 years.

He again explained that the Town was lacking in its tree canopy and that the tall palms along Riverside Road will soon reach the end of their botanical lives, and the new trees were planted to make the area shadier, cooler more inviting for people while providing habitat for local fauna.

“I am ashamed that the perpetrator/s may be an East Fremantle resident and I personally encourage anyone with information about these crimes to come forward and report them. I have been proud to live in East Fremantle where we look after our environment and river,” Mayor O’Neill said.

He has reiterated the offer made in December 2020 for a $5,000 reward for information leading directly to the successful prosecution of tree vandals.

He explained that the Town will work with the State Government’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions to deter such acts in future by installing signage and is investigating the deployment of CCTV in the area which is now clearly a hotspot for tree damage.

Officer in Charge Fremantle Police Station - Senior Sergeant Bret Reyne states: “Police support the Town of East Fremantle in the deterrence of wanton and deliberate damage of public space assets. If persons responsible are identified they face will criminal prosecution and considerable penalties.”

He has asked anyone who has witnessed damage occurring to call Police on 131444, and that anyone with information on the damaged trees is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Damaged trees on Riverside Road  Damaged trees on Riverside Road

Damaged trees along Riverside Road

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