Trees driving residents mad

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TIME TO TAKE ACTION: Residents like Brian Torpy want Rowan Street’s plane trees pruned to arrest the problems they cause for houses in the area. PHOTO: Cheryl Browne

PLANE trees are getting up the noses and into the gutters of Rowan Street residents, and they want action.

A petition signed by 12 residents of the street was presented to council at its March meeting, raising concerns about the build-up of leaves and fibres from the trees’ pods, and their effect on nearby houses.

And during a meeting with a Rural City of Wangaratta arborist the day after the council meeting, residents also highlighted health and safety issues created by the trees.

Marilyn Torpy, who has lived in Rowan Street with husband Brian for almost 30 years, said problems surrounding the trees have been raised with council a number of times over the years, to no avail.

But with leaves and pod fibres causing endless frustration as they block guttering and downpipes, as well as street gutters, and also spark allergies, she said residents decided on the petition to ensure their voices were heard.

“They just make such a mess, and there’s the safety aspect since the Foot Centre moved into the street, as the balls from the trees fall on the footpath and create an obstacle for elderly people trying to get in there with their walking frames,” Mrs Torpy said.

“The leaves just don’t break down, they are not like normal autumn leaves, and the fluff (from the pods) clogs up house gutters because it is so fine.”
Shaun Condon said he moved into Rowan Street four years ago after relocating from Melbourne.

“I’ve never had allergy issues, and now I’m on Telfast twice a day,” he said.

“You can see the fibres in the air – it’s almost like snow.”

Mrs Torpy said many other residents complained of the irritation caused by the trees, and were also concerned about the effect the trees were having on their properties.

She said the seven residents who attended the meeting with the council arborist were told pruning the trees to reduce their height could help alleviate the problems.

“The arborist said 40 years ago was the last time they were pruned back a long way,” she said.

“They don’t like to prune them, because they say they are more prone to infection.”

But Brian Torpy said pruning appeared to be the only option available to ease problems caused by the trees.

Mrs Torpy said residents planned to contact councillors directly in coming weeks, to explain their plight in the lead-up to April’s council meeting, where the petition will be discussed.

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