We want your views on Street Tree Management

Published on Friday, 16 June 2023 at 12:00:00 AM

What should the main requirements be when the Shire of Esperance selects street trees species? What key areas of street tree management should the Shire focus on? Do we need more street trees? We’re interested in your views! 

After considering the Street Tree Policy and the Street Tree Strategy 2023 at the May Ordinary Council Meeting, Council requested the Strategy be opened for public feedback, and then a report be submitted with recommended changes – this Strategy is now available for comment. 

The Street Tree Strategy 2023 has been developed to guide the Shire on the management and direction of street trees within the Esperance town site and satellite towns. It is a comprehensive document, with much thought going into its wide-ranging scope and key points.

The significant value and benefit that street trees provide to communities is becoming more widely recognised. Street trees are being seen more and more as an asset to be planned for, protected and nurtured. Some of the many advantages of healthy, appropriately placed street trees are: 

  • increased habitat for the wildlife of our region
  • cleaner air for us all to breathe, through absorption of gaseous pollutants through the leaf stomata and interception of particulate matter on plant surfaces
  • natural air conditioning and reduction of the urban heat island effect, with research showing that canopy cover can lower surface and air temperatures by between 11 and 25 degrees Celsius. This effect can be quite localised, right down to the street level.
  • stormwater management, by slowing down and temporarily storing rainfall. As rain falls on rough vegetation it is slowed down and some evaporates back into the atmosphere, and water is taken up by the roots
  • a sense of place – the Norfolk Island Pines on our foreshore and along Dempster St are an iconically Esperance view. Would we even be Esperance if we didn’t have the Post Office Square Norfolk Island Pine?
  • adding to the value of properties, with recent research finding that a broad-leafed tree on the street verge can increase the price of Perth properties by around $16,000 – you’re welcome, no need to thank us.

The Shire recognises the importance of selecting the right tree for each location, with previous performance of the species in our area to be considered, as well as the above and below ground growth habits and potential impacts for each species. In selecting the species of tree for street planting, each site must be examined to determine the potential for property and infrastructure damage such as cracked pavements, effect on overhead and below ground infrastructure such as powerlines, water and communication pipes, and the potential impact on traffic, signage and road safety. 

The Street Tree Strategy 2023 lays out the process to protect our valuable existing street tree stock, using the Biodiversity Mitigation Hierarchy to: 

  • avoid activities that could lead to loss and damage of trees;
  • minimise actions and risks that harm trees;
  • rehabilitate and take restorative actions to bring ecosystems back to their original state, and
  • offset tree loss by planting more trees in the same location or within the same area to ensure no net loss of trees.

While tree removal is the last resort, the Shire will on occasion have to remove trees for public safety reasons. In these situations, the Shire will replace the tree with a suitable species to maintain our tree stock. 

A street tree species list is provided in the Strategy, with recommended locations for each species, and alternative species for consideration in appropriate landscapes. All new plantings will need to adhere to this species list. The list is broken down into small, medium and large trees, and suburbs suggested for each. It is important to note that some species may have very wide applications, while others will only be used in very limited or specific locations. 

Council is listening, so if you have an opinion on the Street Tree Strategy 2023, our street trees and how they should be managed, make sure you read the Strategy and submit your views before close of business on Friday 7 July. The Shire of Esperance Street Tree Strategy 2023 may be accessed here, and written responses may be emailed to shire@esperance.wa.gov.au, posted to PO Box 507, Esperance WA 6450, or handed in at the Shire of Esperance Administration Building, 77 Windich St, Esperance. 

16 June 2023

Related Documents: Street Tree Strategy 2023

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