Dora splinters over tree threat

The fallen branch.

By Casey Neill

Dora Messina has been watching the trees on her nature strip for 20 years, just waiting for one to drop a limb.

The Endeavour Hills resident has been writing to City of Casey, warning about the risk the “two huge gums” planted in her nature strip posed, for those two decades.

“When there is strong wind I sit there at the window and watch them sway left to right and pray that one doesn’t snap and fall on our house,” she said.

But a limb did come crashing down onto the footpath and her fence on 14 April.

“My husband was out there half an hour earlier,” she said.

“If it had hit him … ”

She’s now in a battle with the council for compensation to fix the damage caused.

Ms Messina said emergency services attended the Wills Court address and removed the branch.

She and her husband Salvatore provided quotes from a tradesman, photos of the damage, and even offered to complete the work for $250 in compensation.

But Ms Messina said the council’s response was that the weather was to blame for the damage.

“It’s the principle here,” she said.

“It’s not actually the cost of the damage.”

She said they’d now have to go through the own insurance to have the repairs completed, but their excess was higher than the damage bill.

“The trees are not suitable for where they are, not at the height they’ve become,” she said.

The Journal first reported on Ms Messina’s concerns about the destructive gum trees in March last year.

She said other branches had fallen into her property, leaves had blocked her gutters, and roots lifted her retaining wall.

Ms Messina said the council told her the trees were too healthy to be removed.

City of CAsey planning manager David Richardson said that following the incident in April, the council engaged an independent arborist to inspect both trees and found them to be in good health with no further remedial works required at this time.

“The community has strongly indicated that it values street trees and their vital role in maintaining a liveable city and ensuring a healthy environment,“ he said.

“Council is currently considering the residents’ claim.”

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