By Colin MacGillivray
A KILMORE resident has been left frustrated at a perceived lack of urgency from Mitchell Shire Council to remove or fence off what he describes as a dangerous tree stump next to his property.
A tree at the rear of a small reserve on Centenary Drive blew over Bruce Noble’s fence during the savage storm that hit Kilmore and much of the north-central region last month.
Mr Noble said his insurance company was unable to install a new fence until the tree stump was removed, but council had not told him when that would be.
He said council workers cut up the parts of the tree that fell into his yard but had left the upended stump, which had disturbed the ground around his fence line.
Since the storm Mr Noble has had temporary fencing across the gap in his fence.
“We can’t get our new fence put in until council remove the stump and fill the hole in,” he said.
“The council’s attitude has been ‘you can wait’.”
Mr Noble said he had expressed concerns to council that children would injure themselves playing on the stump.
He said he had already told children off on multiple occasions for playing on it.
“I suggested council should put some temporary fencing up to stop kids from climbing on the stump because it’s in an area where kids play all the time,” he said.
“You know what children are like – they’ll end up hurting themselves or falling down through the roots into the hole below the stump.
“I’m so … [angry] that they won’t even worry about kids, because they’re out there kicking the football all the time. If they get in and hurt themselves it won’t be good, and the council doesn’t seem to give a stuff.”
Mr Noble said he and a neighbour had repeatedly complained to council about the tree for two years before it blew over.
“[Council] never clean around the bottom. All the [bark and leaves] have dropped around the base of the trees and made it constantly soggy, and the roots haven’t grown down and that’s why this tree has gone over,” he said.
Mitchell Shire Council chief executive Brett Luxford said council workers were still processing a huge number of requests relating to the storm.
“Last month’s storm caused widespread damage across the shire with more than 300 customer requests reporting hundreds of fallen trees on council roads, parks and reserves,” he said.
“Council contractors removed the fallen tree off the fence following the storm event to make the area safe. The stump will be removed as part of council’s storm damage works in coming months.”
Mr Luxford also disputed Mr Noble’s claim that a build-up of leaf and bark litter around the base of the tree had contributed to it falling.
“Council does not typically remove leaf litter or bark debris from around trees as this is important organic matter that breaks down and helps to keep trees healthy by providing nutrients,” he said.
“Our park and street trees are regularly inspected as part of our open space maintenance program. We also conduct inspections when people report concerns.”