Gum control: Kara Place residents sick of tree litter

THE concrete gutters in Kara Place are buckled by tree roots, the front yards and roof gutters are overflowing with leaf litter and bark, and after more than 20 years of picking up after the towering eucalypts in their street, Kara Place residents have reached their wits’ end.

But despite the residents’ continued complaints, Orange City Council refuses to replace the street trees because there is no immediate danger.

The residents are especially concerned about elderly resident Pam Cassidy, who relies on an oxygen tank 24 hours a day and struggles to maintain her front yard, when it is constantly covered with tree litter.

She now pays for the yard to be cleaned up.

Another resident Len Gillette is worried the street trees and a row of gum trees hanging over his back fence from Ken Rawle Park are a fire hazard and also put his family at risk.

“The kids can’t play out the back because the limbs come down like arrows,” he said.

“[The council] told us they don’t pull them out willy-nilly unless there’s something wrong with them.

“Well there is, they’re a danger. If they caught fire they’d explode.”

Council spokesman Allan Reeder said the council was gradually reducing the number of eucalyptus street trees but had no plans to remove those in Kara Place.

“Council staff have gone to Kara Place and made a preliminary inspection,” he said.

“That inspection revealed there aren’t any immediate dangers from the gum trees.

“Trees are replaced when there are concerns for safety or they are at the ends of their life ... but they’re very healthy.”

Mr Gillette’s wife Diane says the family has had their back shed damaged by falling branches.

“We don’t mind trees but they’re not appropriate,” she said.

“We won’t let the kids out when it’s windy.”

Another resident Derek Parkes has lived in the street for more 20 years and has given up hope of ever having a front lawn again.

“I’ve planted three front lawns and now I’ve got none,” he said.

Repeated phone calls to the council over the years have resulted in little action for the residents except for the occasional visit from the street sweeper.

The residents have tried installing guards in their roof gutters but are still constantly fishing out leaves.

Mr Reeder said the residents’ complaints would be referred to the Tree Reference Group - a committee made up of community members and councillors.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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