Letters of the week March 8, 2024

Concerns for the trees

Dear Echo News,

At a recent City of Kalamunda Council meeting, a decision was made to revoke the tree retention policy (local planning policy 33), to me demonstrates a blatant neglect for due process, community input, and the scientific consensus on the importance of environmental preservation.

The council’s six to three vote to repeal this policy came after minimal notice, severely limiting public discourse and transparency.

The push to revoke, led by Councillor David Modolo, I believe was remarkably unfounded, ignoring required legal and financial assessments and overlooking the policy’s environmental achievements, such as significant tree planting and canopy expansion. This is critical for our community’s ecological health and climate resilience.

I think this hasty decision not only flouts established procedures but flies in the face of scientific understanding and the global imperative for conservation.

It threatens to pave the way for unchecked tree removal, with potentially devastating environmental and societal consequences, echoing the destruction seen at places like the Roe Logistics Park.

C Dornan

Wattle Grove


Container furphies
Dear Echo News,

Containers for change do an excellent job by providing convenient collection centres which pay out 10 cents for every acceptable container delivered to them and no doubt the new residential collection service will also be a success, as mentioned in Containers for Change launches new residential collection service (Echo News, March 1).
However, the claim that since the service was launched in October 2020, more than three billion containers have been diverted from landfill is somewhat of a furphy since a large percentage of them would have previously been recycled anyway via our yellow-lidded recycle bins.
C Coulthard
Gooseberry Hill


Vacant tax screaming match
Dear Echo News,

I’ve been reading a lot of the blow from those in the know about the City of Swan rate increase on undeveloped land.
A couple of our former mayors argue that Swan’s vacant land tax, which is consistent with nearby local government areas’ policies, will place an undue burden upon owners (or maybe speculators?) of vacant blocks.
I’d just like to add a bit of context to try to help quieten this screaming match.
Councillor Dave Knight estimates that this change will affect about 4000 plots and return $1.5m annually to the city.
This is an astonishing $375 a year on average per parcel.
While this is not a paltry sum to some, I suspect that the vast majority of those holding off on development will not notice a change to their net worth due to payments of this small tax increase.
And given that undeveloped land is selling for record prices, this should give all those who own undeveloped land a slight additional incentive to build or sell.
Both options will help alleviate the current housing shortfall.
Dr R. P. Ilchik
South Guildford


Council horrors
Dear Echo News,

I read and listen in horror to the latest City of Swan council drama about the proposed 30 per cent rate hike for vacant land.
As to how this ever was allowed to be tabled in the first place beggars belief.
Once again, we as ratepayers are to sit back and watch more wasted hours squabbling over something that will now go back and forth, dividing the community.
The City of Swan is a council that is currently not providing an environment where people would feel confident to develop their land – Midland oval redevelopment masterplan is a good example of this, still tied up in red tape and constant stalling tactics from some on the council.
A sound business environment is created when confidence in city leaders is demonstrated – the current situation that reigns within the City of Swan is not a good indicator for investors.
H Quaife

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