Community lodges 500 concerns on trees

EDITORIAL: Be mindful that not all trees need to be removed

UPDATE: MORE than 500 extra community concerns regarding trees have been noted since the tragedy in Rosalind Park just seven weeks ago.

The City of Greater Bendigo has hired consultants to help deal with the glut of community requests to cut down trees across the shire. 

Presentation and assets director Darren Fuzzard said there had been "an awful lot of people" concerned about tree safety. 

He said their concerns followed an incident on December 30 last year, when a young girl was killed by a falling tree branch. 

"We ask for people's patience as we work through all the requests," he said. 

"We've put on some consultants to work through the process faster than usual. 

"However this creates the next round of effort in programming the work to be done. 

"This can be very time consuming and extremely expensive." 

His comments come after the trimming of a tree in Spring Gully on Wednesday, following a heartfelt plea from nearby residents.

Residents expressed serious concerns for their children's safety, after the tree dropped five limbs in 12 months.

A petition with 308 signatures was presented to council last week calling on the tree in Spring Gully Drive to be removed.

When asked by residents if council could guarantee the safety of nearby residents, Mr Fuzzard said while he could not guarantee anything, the tree was "in no immediate risk of failure".

He said three arborists had inspected the tree and deemed it in a "fair and reasonable condition". 

Arborists returned to the site following the meeting and yesterday cut off several branches from the tree. 

However Sarah Gordon-Nilsson, who lives in a property next to the tree, said council had not alleviated residents' concerns. 

"We want the whole tree cut down - not just a few branches," she said. 

"They haven't made much of a difference at all and it's a slap in the face, a token gesture.

"The arborists report says the tree is compromised by many hollows and I have no confidence in the safety of my family." 

Mr Fuzzard said even if trees had dropped limbs, it was not necessarily evidence of structural problems.

"We understand the concern of people and there is a significant amount of people with heightened awareness after the incident," he said. 

"But we hope that doesn't stop people from enjoying the environment because the green part of Bendigo is what makes it so fantastic."

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