Anzac trees saved by $200,000 State offer
TOODYAY’S two threatened Anzac Memorial Park trees (pictured left during a 2016 public protest against their destruction) on the corner of Clinton Street and Anzac Parade appear to have been saved by a State-funded upgrade to four of five dangerous corners on the town’s temporary heavy-haulage bypass.
The Toodyay Shire Council voted 7-0 last month to accept a Main Roads WA offer of up to $200,000 to widen the four corners to enable heavy trucks and trailers to pass safely.READ MORE
Cr Judy Dow left the chamber after declaring a financial interest because she and former Shire president David Dow own a house in Hamersley Street on the bypass route, and Cr Craig Brook was absent with leave.
Main Roads WA said the fifth dangerous corner – at the intersection of Harper Road and Stirling Terrace near Newcastle Bridge – was too costly to upgrade because it would require substantial bridge works.
The council still has a July 2016 decision on its books to cut down the Anzac trees to limit the shire’s legal liability if there is a serious traffic accident on that corner.
Public not told
The decision was made without public consultation or notifying the RSL, and was not published in the agenda before being raised as urgent business at the end of the council meeting after a dinner break.
The shire was caught off guard by public reaction when the news was published a week later on Page 1 of The Herald.
It led to a tense stand-off between police and protesters when shire contractors with chainsaws arrived to remove the trees.
Protesters called former Cr Sally Craddock to the scene, and she got the reluctant support of Crs Paula Greenway and Brian Rayner who – after a heated argument with protesters – agreed to sign a formal shire request to refer the matter back to the council.
However, former president David Dow ruled at the August 2016 meeting that Cr Craddock’s new motion to rescind the previous month’s decision was out of order because it needed three signatures to be debated.
Cr Craddock’s motion lapsed but councillors voted 9-0 to accept Deputy President Therese Chitty’s amendment to defer axing the trees pending further reports.
President Rayner said this month that if Main Roads WA “sign off on the proposed treatment (negotated with the shire) it would eliminate the need to remove the two trees”.
“Council has always been focused on public safety,” he said.
“When this work has been completed, council can reconsider any outstanding resolutions.”
President Rayner said WA Trasport Minister Rita Saffioti’s offer for rare discretionary road funding for Toodyay was “resulting from advocacy work by the Shire”.