LIVING IN FEAR: Goodna’s Craig Horsfall had three cars damaged by falling gum tree branches after the November 29 storm.
LIVING IN FEAR: Goodna’s Craig Horsfall had three cars damaged by falling gum tree branches after the November 29 storm. Inga Williams

Call for action on dangerous council trees in storm season

AFTER fearing for his life as gum trees damaged three of his cars in the storms that ripped through Goodna late last month, Craig Horsfall wants action.

The Power Court resident said he had approached council several times since he moved to the area three years ago, asking for massive gum trees on the footpath outside his home to be chopped down.

"Council won't do anything," Mr Horsfall said.

"I was standing at the front window in my lounge room trying to survey the damage to my cars and one of the branches bounced up off the window and under the awning and luckily it didn't come through, otherwise I would have been wiped out."

He estimated the damage to his property at $55,000.

Mr Horsfall said he feared for the safety of his four-year-old daughter, whose bedroom was in the path of the trees.

"She was asleep at the time when the storm came through. The tree is 20m from the bedrooms and if we have another one of these storms who is to say it won't come crashing down."

During the storm on November 29, council and the SES received about 200 calls on tree damage.

According to council, 10% of the damage to private property was from trees on council land.

Council's policy on the removal of hazardous gum trees was challenged at the December meeting by Cr Bruce Casos.

Cr Casos called for a "more realistic view of the danger of gum trees", saying trees had to be chopped down if they were a serious threat.

Goodna-based councillor Paul Tully said he would look into the Power Court complaint.

"I am sympathetic to people who want trees removed from footpaths or adjoining parkland, particularly eucalypts," Cr Tully said.

"Eucalypts on their own are dangerous because they become very brittle in a storm, whereas in a forested area they break up the force of the wind.

"I don't think the only test should be if it is a healthy tree or not. If you get a 20 or 30m gum tree, people are genuinely concerned it could come down on a house; it could kill them, and it's too late then."