A RESIDENT whose carport was damaged by a limb falling from a neighbor’s tree says the incident would never have occurred if it was not for slack council bylaws regarding the control of trees on acreages.
Brendan Key of Capalaba said he had asked for his neighbour to remove or trim the large tree before the incident occurred.
There was no obligation on the neighbour to do so under Redland City Council bylaws because both properties were on acreages.
If they lived on smaller lots, there might have been grounds for action to be taken.
“It’s a miracle that our neighbour’s son or our children were not in the area when the branch came down,” he said. “If anyone was near the tree when it fell, they would have been killed.”
Mr Key said he had paid thousands of dollars to have his neighbor’s trees trimmed back along the fence between the two properties.
“I couldn’t even get them (council) to come out yet when some green tree huggers saw that we were (legally) trimming trees along the fence line, they were out here in a shot,” he said.
“There seems to be no remedy for people on large blocks caught in this situation.”
He had asked council for help but it deemed that the prominent tree on Redland Bay Road near IndigiScapes was protected.
Mr Key said he had taken up the matter with the state government’s Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal but it could not resolve the issue because his property was deemed non-urban.
Cr Murray Elliott said he had sympathy for Mr Key but the giant tallowood was an exceptional remnant tree that carried a vegetation protection order.
“Our guys had a look at it and found that it was in good nick,” he said. “Having said that it’s one of those things. Trees can suddenly drop a limb.”
Cr Elliott said it was up to an individual property owner to maintain or trim trees in accordance with local laws and he had asked Mr Key to write to him about the issue.
Cr Murray said bylaws relating to trees, their maintenance and protection were being reviewed by council as part of the new planning scheme. Hopefully, any anomalies would be picked up in that review.
Mr Key said there seemed to be no council interest in risk assessment on such trees or the damage their root systems might do.
His insurer would cover the cost of the damaged car port and then take up the matter of compensation with his neighbor.
He has since written to council, saying that if the tree fell across the road, it would take out powerlines and potentially kill someone. If it fell the other way, it would take out the neighbor’s house or his carport again.
“If you give the tree a clean bill of health then that’s fine. But I have highlighted the consequences if this tree is not safe,” he wrote.