Community doubts the quality of the service from local council

The council emergency services team ripped the whole tree down. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

A Healesville resident is doubting the quality of service from the Yarra Ranges Council (YRC) after he got through the fallen branch removal service from the council’s emergency services team.

A bough fell down at Danny’s house, located at 12 Ryrie Street, Healesville, when a storm hit Yarra Valley in February.

The bough leaned on power lines and Danny reported it to the emergency services of YRC.

Danny said he got a phone call back from the team to clarify the issue.

“Because I work in this industry, I know exactly what I’m talking about, so I told him what was going on, what the problem was, what needed to be done, what equipment they would likely be needing,” he said.

“A week later, the power came back on and the tree was still leaning on the power lines, so I had to chase them up again. A friend of mine went to the council’s office and they knew nothing about it. It didn’t get lodged in the system.

“A few days later, not the council but the power company cleared the power lines and that was done in the middle of the night which was a bit of a surprise to me.”

Even after the power company cleared the power lines, the mess was still there and Danny had to enquire again to the council.

Danny ended up clearing the mess up by himself because it blocked the driveway to his carport.

He parked his car out in the street for about three weeks because he couldn’t get access to his carport.

Danny said he’d like to call the service that he received from the council “appalling, disrespectful and unprofessional”.

“All of a sudden, a couple of days ago, they [the council emergency services team] came in and ripped the whole tree down. It’s a bit of an overreaction,” he said.

“I felt like there would have been some consultation from the council but there was no written and no verbal consultation to me and I found it a bit disappointing because I felt unprofessionally dealt with that the situation was propelled within the way it was just coming in and ripping the tree down with no regard for what could potentially be done to it.

“It is underneath the power lines so the tree was severely compromised in terms of having a large branch broken off and I could understand that the position of that, but having no consultation and just having those contractors coming in and ripping the eight-year-old tree down seemed unprofessional to me.”

Three of Danny’s neighbours came out to ask the contractors why they removed the tree.

“They were told to go away because they were busy,” Danny said.

“They are upset that the tree is gone and they fear that the remaining trees will come down as well.”

YRC built environment and infrastructure director Hjalmar Philipp said the council’s tree team inspected a tree in Ryrie Street, Healesville, on 12 February and recommended the tree be removed because of the damage it had suffered.

“The task was allocated to a council contractor on the same day,” he said.

“Following the extreme weather earlier this year, tree contractors have been inundated with requests and work is prioritised based on risk level. The volume of work at present resulted in delays for the removal of this tree.”

“We understand the disappointment of this community member for the time taken for teams to come out and work on the tree. We will assess the best options for replanting on council land at this property.”