Family and friends of two teenagers killed in a West Australian crash have been left devastated after the local council decided to chop down the tree at their roadside memorial without telling them.
City of Rockingham mayor has apologised for the lack of communication, saying there were no excuses.
The spot on Secret Harbour Boulevard, south of Perth, is the place where friends and family go to remember Mason Hooton and Callum Mummery who were killed in October last year when the Toyota Supra they were passengers in slammed into the tree.
A third passenger Shaun Sparrow was critically injured but survived.
The probationary driver, 19-year-old Joel Payne, was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Council workers moved in to lop the memorial on Thursday morning, with concerns the tree was dying.
But the boys’ families were not notified first.
“The first time I saw it, I was in complete shock,” Ella Saltmarsh, a friend of the victims, said.
“I heard there was only a trim done. There’s about six-foot left of the tree.
“It was like a communal spot for all of us and they took it away without any notice.”
“They’ve disregarded really what impact it’s still having and how raw it is for people,” another friend Sam Saltmarsh said.
The City of Rockingham said it regretted not informing the families before the lopping and its processes would now be reviewed to ensure this sort of thing did not happen again.
Mr Sammels said the tree’s removal was a safety issue.
“We were concerned about that tree falling, but that is no excuse. We still should’ve contacted the families. That didn’t happen and once again we can only sincerely apologise,” he said.
The boys’ mothers have also written to their local member of parliament raising concerns about P-plate drivers in high-powered cars.
They want Western Australia to have restrictions in place while novice drivers gain experience, like in other states, to help prevent other families needing a special place to remember their loved ones.