City of Perth to hit tree vandals with $5000 fines

City of Perth Council has approved a review of city laws that will see penalties for tree vandals significantly increased after losing almost 70 trees to “mindless vandals” in the last year and a half.

Mayor Basil Zemilas: fed up with tree vandals.

Council says the current the maximum penalty of $500 doesn’t provide a significant deterrent, and wants to see that figure increased to $5000.

Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas says tree vandalism is a major problem for the City, costing up to $100,000 a year and affecting its ability to grow a canopy and mitigate heat islands.

“Tree vandalism currently costs the City between $60,000 and $100,000 a year with the average cost of removing and replacing a damaged tree about $6,900,” he said.

“Even if trees aren’t totally destroyed, the act of vandalism can impact a tree’s growth and restrict it from reaching its full potential.
“I think a penalty of up to $5,000 is more appropriate, it reflects the amount it costs us to remove and replace a damaged tree, and hopefully it will deter those who think it is a good idea to vandalise trees.”

Fifty trees were lost from the CBD last year, he said, with 45 of those because of vandalism.

Another 23 have been removed because of vandalism so far this year.

Much of Perth’s tree vandalism is believed to be an act of ‘mindless opportunism’, as it typically occurs in City areas with an active night-time economy or along pedestrian routes linking hospitality venues and public transport, the council says.

“We know most of the damage to trees in the CBD area is opportunistic, and much of it from people who may have overindulged,” a spokesman told Government News.

He said Council will introduce the new local laws, which were approved on Tuesday night, soon as they are given the stamp of approval from the state’s local government minister.

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