Seven-year-old Rivervale resident, Cohen Mucjanko, is speaking out and bringing people together to show that the community cares about decisions being made about trees in our local area.
Cohen, with the help of his mum, created a Facebook page ‘Cohen Cares Do You’ after he was deeply saddened when the City of Belmont recently cleared several, well-established Cape Lilac trees (a foraging tree for the already vulnerable, Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo) in one of its water sump properties on Kooyong Road.
Speaking at last month’s Ordinary Council Meeting, Cohen raised concerns around:
Whether the Council knew the trees were foraging trees before they were cleared.
Why the trees were cut down completely, rather than just being pruned.
He also referred to the City of Belmont’s Urban Forest Strategy Canopy Plan (2019-2024) which outlines the documented commitment to protecting local foraging trees for endangered and vulnerable cockatoos.
The Council responded to Cohen with a ‘wait and see’ approach. They stated the decision to remove the trees was based on safety concerns, and that they were foraging trees is not taken into consideration by the arborist. They are hoping to manage the re-growth of the trees, should they come to life again.
Cohen, disappointed with this response, believes a lot more can be done – a sentiment shared by many within the community (some of which with sound environmental experience) who have reached out to Cohen, agreeing that a balance between useability and liveability within sumps is not only possible, but expected. The question is, will the City of Belmont listen and take action?
You can show you care by writing a letter to the City of Belmont Council or by speaking to your local Councillor about what is being done to protect and retain our existing trees, and even steps being taken to increase our tree canopy cover, which is the worst in WA, at 9%. Be aware of the trees around you, and the wildlife they provide for.
Check out the Facebook page: Cohen Cares Do You?, which has up to date information and comment. The decisions we make today impact our area and our community for generations to come. Together, let's make better ones.
Cohen's school class got together to make a sign to alert the surrounding community to the loss of trees within the sump, and to let them know that they care about the trees in their neighbourhood.