Letters of the week March 15, 2024

Long live the Echo

Dear Echo News,

Congratulations to the Echo News team on the extensive line-up of real news stories that your newspaper has recently covered.

Definitely not a quiet news time! Most is truly local and community-focused.

We are most fortunate to still have a ‘local rag’ and one that is independently owned!

Long may the Echo survive against all the odds.

M Maher


Agendas laid bare?

Dear Echo News,

I write in reply to C Dornan’s letter Concern for the trees (Echo News, March 8).

I believe the likes of these people’s true agenda is that they don’t want any form of development in the City of Kalamunda because that’s why they live here, away from the over-crowed inner suburbs.

I think they care little about a healthy and prosperous future for our community, little do they care about youth employment, or for that matter any form of modernisation.

Face it – in my opinion they are by far the minority, and I ask if those radicals have ever been to Pickering Brook, Carmel, or Bickley – there are hundreds of acres of paddocks, due to orchards not being viable, so what are they doing to encourage vegetation up there; please, I want to know.

I await your answer.

R Furfaro


Trees and rights

Dear Echo News,

In the article Applause as Kalamunda bins tree retention policy (Echo News, March 1) it states that a tree retention “Local planning policy 33 was passed in December 2022 and was introduced to “guide applicant and decision makers to consider the need for the removal of trees, and, where possible, minimise the removal of trees of a particular size through planning and development processes” according to the officer’s report”.

But recently, people present, applauded when the policy was scrapped suddenly at a Kalamunda ordinary council meeting on February 27, despite there being three times as many resident deputations for maintaining the policy, as for scrapping it.

This raises the questions: why did the Kalamunda community go to a lot of trouble to get a tree retention policy implemented in the first place?

Why and how could it be revoked suddenly at one council meeting only 15 months later?

The trouble is, trees take a long time to grow, so when they come down, they are gone, with replacement taking a very long time, if at all.

Thus, in many shires around the world, trees are treasured as local community assets affecting the physical and economic health of a region.

Taking down a tree is not like taking down a fence that can be readily replaced. Hence the crucial need for tree mapping and retention, with community support to nurture our trees, which takes knowledge and skills.

This is especially the case in Perth Hills local government areas, given we are part of the unique and threatened northern jarrah forest belt ecology.

Some people when buying property in the Perth Hills expect to do whatever they want with any trees on their property, as if trees are readily disposable at will.

That often means felling trees – or mis-care of trees – if they have little knowledge or appreciation of trees.

The City of Kalamunda local planning policy 33 rationale was thoughtful and necessary if we want our trees to be treasured.

Effectively, the policy was attempting to preserve trees and provide both the individual property owners, their neighbours, and the wider community, with the support to make fair and sensible decisions.

It took a lot of community and councillors’ time and effort to instigate the policy, which was an obvious service to the community.

But as is often the case, the work has been undone by a revocation motion by a group within the current councillors in agreement with a minority group in the shire, without what I believe is the majority wish of the community.

Why? The reason is given on page 16 of the same Echo issue; in the Kalamunda Mayor’s Message, in which she states “At the ordinary council meeting of February 27 the council decided to revoke local planning policy 33: tree retention.

“This change respects people’s rights, making it easier for them to manage their own properties,” it states.

In other words, the revocation principle is that people who are not keen to maintain trees where possible, have the ‘right’ to do their own thing, regardless of their knowledge and skills base, and regardless of the value of quality maintenance and tree retention for the community.

Tree value includes the biomass cooling effect, wildlife support, aesthetics, mental health support, and localised eco-economics.

But if a property owner or councillor does not understand this, they will prefer to do their own thing more easily.

Why should a property owner have such self-interested rights over a heritage item that is virtually irreplaceable?

They don’t even have such a blanket right to do their own thing regarding fencing, because fencing impacts others, visuals, practicalities, and opportunities.

Why should there be planning requirements regarding replaceable fencing but not regarding irreplaceable biomass?

S Braun

Privately owned, proudly independent local news service.

ALL IMAGES & WORDS © 2023 Echo Newspaper
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram