Whittlesea council is refusing to remove 19 trees from a Mill Park street, despite a petition that labels the greenery a “serious safety issue”.
The petition, signed by 20 residents who live in and around Gypsy Court, was lodged on March 6 this year.
The petition states that the trees’ roots had lifted the court’s footpath creating a tripping hazard; branches had fallen off trees and damaged parked cars; and that leaves, gumnuts and twigs had caused injuries due to people slipping on them.
It stated that gutters and drains had been blocked by fallen leaves, causing water damage to homes and that the debris poses a fire risk.
According to a council report, the majority of the trees in the court are “semi-mature” yellow bloodwoods.
The combined cost of removing the trees and replanting new ones would be more than $20,000.
At a meeting last week, the council passed a council officer’s recommendation to retain the trees.
However Cr Caz Monteleone said the Gypsy Court trees would become “a legacy program” for the council if it took no action.
“Barely a week goes by without someone ringing the council to complain about the trees,” Cr Monteleone said.
Cr Sam Alessi argued the council would face a “huge cost” in removing the trees, which he said were important for amenity and reducing heat.
“If the trees are removed, it will put the streetscape seven to eight years behind where it is now,” he said. “I believe to cut down trees in this street would be an irresponsible action on behalf of the whole community.”
The council report states the trees in Gypsy Court were last inspected in May, resulting in pruning to ensure road, footpath and property clearance.
In addition, the trees were inspected by an arborist in March, who said three trees required follow-up work, including minor pruning to achieve property clearance.