Deputation to City of Stirling Council

Following is our Deputation to the City of Stirling‘s Planning and Development Committee Meeting –  8th of March, 2016.

By Leisha Jack, the Convenor of the Stirling Urban Tree Network

Speaking  FOR the Agenda Item CP5 , being the City of Stirling’s proposed TREES AND DEVELOPMENT – LOCAL PLANNING SCHEME NO.3 AMENDMENT AND POLICY – INITIATION  (the full Agenda can be found here on page 124).

 

“Firstly, I would like to thank the Councillors, Executives and Staff who have been instrumental in bringing this crucial public health and economic initiative to Council.

Rising urban heat simply must be mitigated.

Trees reduce urban temperatures.

Governments have a duty to protect citizens from rising urban heat.  Heat kills.  Heat kills more people than road accidents in WA.

We don’t know the full extent of how many heat related hospital admissions and deaths there are in Perth, because there doesn’t seem to be a standardised method for recording heat induced illnesses?  The problem is likely to be greater than we think.

Air conditioning cannot be relied upon.  The State Government will argue that they have increased capacity, so the electricity grid will not over load and shut down during heat waves anymore?  Even if this is true, other events cause black outs, such as, summer storms and cyclones, fires, vehicles crashing into power poles and power poles and generator equipment  overheating.

500,000 people were left without power in a series of blackouts across Victoria during the deadly 2009 heatwave , 374 people from heat related causes.   Blackouts were caused by a variety of things, including equipment failing and “because someone in a private company decided to cut the power supply to homes.”

It must also acknowledged, that not everyone has air conditioning  or can afford it?  “In the year 2013/2014, over 50,000 Victorian properties were disconnected from energy”.  With WA’s struggling post boom economy, disconnections will likely to increasing here.  Therefore, there are a growing number of  people in the community who will be vulnerable and will cook in extreme weather events.

The Global Economic Forum has just released their Global Risk Report for 2016,  a “Failure of Climate-Change Mitigation and Adaptation” is ranked as one of the greatest risks to humanity.

Extreme heat also negatively affects economic productivity.  When temperatures escalate people become ill, stop outdoor work, get less sleep, lose concentration, become more violent and are less incline to go out and consume..

Therefore, we encourage Councillors to vote for Option 4 [pg 133], because it is the only option that would protect existing trees. Mature trees provide the shade that we desperately need now.  We cannot wait 20 years for new trees to grow.

However, we do not agree that a “Significant Tree Resister” is a good idea for a large Council like Stirling.  We believe that all trees of a certain height should require permission to be remove and only in certain circumstances.

We ask Councillors to please be brave regarding this issue and keep your duty to protect citizens in the forefront of your minds when making decisions around this issue.

Thank you”

(Due to the time constraint of 3 minutes, a couple of details were left out during the speech).