Heat island! Big Canning, little tree canopy!

CanningAccountability image Tree as in third lowest canopy in Perth councils

The City of Canning is the 9th largest Council in the metropolitan area*…. yet it has just been revealed as having the third lowest amount of tree canopy in Perth.

The only councils scoring more disastrously than us are Fremantle and Belmont.

City of Canning tree canopy article in WA Today showing us third lowest in canopy
Extracted from excellent article in WAToday “Research reveals Perth’s hottest real estate… in terms of tree cover” http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/research-reveals-perths-hottest-real-estate-in-terms-of-tree-cover-20150915-gjn834.html#ixzz3lvz2wHkZ

A lot of this decline is being related to infill development, of which Canning is undertaking in two areas in particular:  the Bentley Regeneration Project and the Canning City Centre.

Some of those newer, developed suburbs with small blocks and big houses and not much space for trees… are as hot as, or close to, Perth Airport by midmorning in summer…[They] can be up to six degrees warmer than some of your older, more established suburbs with high canopy cover – such as Wembley Downs and Subiaco….evidence collected in 2014 by Sydney’s University of Technology – which ranked Australian urban councils’ tree canopies – spelled bad news for people living in the Belmont, Fremantle and Canning areas. These councils scored lowest for tree cover in Perth, with around 10 per cent each.

There are alarming implications to all of this – research highlighted in the article will contribute to the study of serious effects on the health and well-being of the many people who live with less income, and are unable to effect changes to the homes they dwell in that will help them cope.

We aren’t talking Pacific Island climate-change related damage here, but the difficulties involved in filling Canning’s spaces with people, combined with the serious lack of affordable housing options , which free up funds for people to develop greater resiliency.

We lost many trees down Manning Rd in a contentious council decision years ago (note: the staff propose a light rail to extend down the same route, which would see the trees removed also), but now we face a rationalisation of trees in Canning’s $700m partnership with Dept of Housing (Bentley) and if the policies put in place by staff in the absence of councillors are adhered to, ie, massive infill down Cecil Avenue, opposite Carousel, we may lose many more.

One councillor nominee, Graham Barry, is campaigning in Mason Ward on his concerns about infill, ie, his belief they can make for “future ghettos” and his concerns that the 10% standard allotment for “public open space” is not what it appears.  Mayoral candidates Margaret Hall and Lindsay Holland are also concerned about the effects of infill on existing neighbourhoods.

*Executive Summary, City of Canning submission to Local Govt Advisory Board, 2014

Our thanks to Roel Loopers’s Freo’s View for alerting us to this article

Image created by ClkerFreeVectorImages https://pixabay.com/en/users/ClkerFreeVectorImages-3736/.  Sourced on Pixabay. License: CCO 1.0

5 thoughts on “Heat island! Big Canning, little tree canopy!

  1. I am glad WA Today has brought this to light, because as a Queens Park resident of 28 years (I am 28 years old) I have seen a disturbing trend of street tress being cut down and not replaced to the point where every verge in Balaka Way is now without a street tree, apparently you have to ‘request’ a tree as they are not automatically replaced (this sounds to me like poor council policy).

    When the Yallambee Way and Meuse Fairway streets were hastily and poorly constructed 10 + years ago, there were minimal street trees planted. Any that were planted were destroyed by cars parking on the verge or neglected. A Council worker who formerly lived in the street was given permission to plant several non native Japanese Cheery trees which do make wonderful flowers but are stunted due to our low rainfall and without leaves for 6 months of the year… useless shrubs.
    2 street trees that were planted are still being held by rope and stakes, the trees are half dead (suspect they were only ever watered on once on planting) and the half-metre soil mound around them is now grown over with grass.
    These are two streets with underground power lines! Why no shade trees were planted at the time just shows a complete lack of foresight as trees would be large/shading by now.
    Shame on City if Canning.

    Another problem is they continue to plant the wrong trees such as Corymbia Eximia which is a bloodwood native to NSW, some fine examples of dying and stunted ones can be seen on Hamilton Street between Centre Street and Longhurst way, why wont the council put them out of their misery and start again planting a new WA native shade tree as quickly as possible?
    For a while there the use of ‘Grafted’ flowering gums was experimented with but should not be recommended anymore as they are suffering from stunting and so struggle even after 10 years to grow to 2m, a reason why City of Canning has low canopy cover.

    They also continue to use thin leaved weeping Peppermints that offer no shade to houses whatsoever and they continue to use them on streets even if there are no overhead power lines! They offer no canopy as most of it is growing toward the ground!

    Hamilton street is a good example of these weeping trees which are never cut often enough or high enough from the ground/footpath so that 6 ft people like me are constantly ducking our head under them and getting whipped in the face by their long foliage. Bad choice of tree.

    Also the Bottles Brushes which were planted long ago are now reaching them end of their life cycle and dying off – another example of Eastern states trees being used back then when they didn’t know better (some nice examples on Treasure Road and Hamilton Street again) Will these be replaced ? Or do the home owners adjacent have to “request a tree” (its the council verge for God’s sake)

    Why aren’t tall broad leafed WA native shade trees being planted immediately?
    There are streets in Queens park that have never had verge trees planted and probably never will. Very sad and a consequence of gutless council.
    Then again any street tree in the City of Canning has a much harder time surviving vandalism and neglect than other council due to the nature of its residents, who are more likely to be renters, ESL and low socio-economic, this must be acknowledged.

    Is this council admitting defeat as it realises large amount of verges are actually permanent car parks now as a large amount of housing is holding 5, 6, 7 people and their cars, whereby giving a street tree no chance of survival?
    When the council does decide to plant, its uses ones entirely unsuitable, which shows how far behind this council is when compared to others. People notice, but unfortunately the cultural make up of this LGA means we don’t have the numbers to push for change/action/accountability. Its killing these suburbs and lowering the standard of living here, which is exactly what the article pertains to.
    There needs to be an integrated approach over the entire council, the least they can do is enforce street trees on all rental properties, and anyone who stands up for this will get my vote in October.


    1. Simone, an absolutely outstanding comment, and frankly the basis for policy review. I will, if you don’t mind, bring this comment to the attention of all the candidates running for council, the City’s CEO and the editors of our two local papers. Your knowledge and thoroughness are outstanding and you’ve raised several, but linked issues here, including infill failures, the problems of a transient population (renters) who are given no incentive to invest in their neighbourhood as they’re hand over fist trying to afford the rent these days, and of course the ever important “are we getting our choice of trees right”?

      Of note, I don’t know if you’d care to comment – certainly your knowledge is extensive, your attention to detail considerable – I attended a meeting with the City a few years ago, also more recently with the master planners of the big new Bentley Regeneration project and mentioned that in todays world, where we need to induce more walking and cycling, and make it as attractive and as accommodating as possible, most of the footpaths are see have advanced trees but they drop a lot of detritus on those shared use paths. I hated riding my bike along them as a result and its an impossible task – unless we have a path sweeper (do they even make those?) – to keep those paths free of that detritus. We will clearly have to do something. We don’t have a huge airport right in the middle of our council, like Belmont, and our industrial areas aren’t that huge. We are cleaved with huge roads, perhaps, but it doesn’t explain why our tree canopy is so low, or the choice of trees not helpful.

      I was written to, following this article, by a councillor from Fremantle who said that they were a hotter “hot spot” because of all the hard areas attributed to the Fremantle Port, but as I said to him, this research is acquitted by experts. Freo is still hot spot from thermal imaging from space – as is Canning. At the very least we need to work to compensate for that, elsewhere in the area. I don’t think Freo is, in fact I know they aren’t – see Fremantle Reform blog’s http://fremantlereform.com/parking-roads-transport/fremantle-council-only-green-in-politics/ but there is no excuse whatsoever for Canning to be third most terrible on that list!


  2. Why worry about trees where there is more pressing issues such as crime rates.

    I have stayed in Bentley for more than 7 years and I physically see my suburb degrading year after year. The number of Homes west and the indigenous residents keep incrrasing. Rather than tackling this issue head on. Many previous councils chose to sweep it under the blanket.

    Till today the reputation of Bentley still remains notorious.


    1. I have to say I agree, Jaded. Its becoming a nightmare of investor properties, too – knock down an old house, smack two or three properties on there, investor lives elsewhere, renters move in and have to pay exorbitant rents, park their cars all over the place, pile up junk on the council verges. Now, with the area around Brownlie Towers due to be infilled with over 1000 new properties, what’s the bet it will be swooped on by investors too? Take a good look at the brochures arriving in your letterbox (or already there). I think one council nominee in particular describes Bentley has having the potential to turn in to a ghetto (Bentley is Mason Ward, of course).


Comments are closed.