Repair leaves Lorraine in despair

Kiama SES workers work on repairing the hole left by falling branches from Lorraine Harrison's eucalyptus tree. Picture: DAVID HALL

Kiama SES workers work on repairing the hole left by falling branches from Lorraine Harrison's eucalyptus tree. Picture: DAVID HALL

AFTER Tuesday night’s big high winds, Kiama Downs resident Lorraine Harrison stood by and watched Kiama SES volunteers repair her roof, disappointed her efforts to have the offending eucalyptus removed, had been unsuccessful.

Mrs Harrison first approached Kiama Council in 2009. When they inspected the tree on Kurrawa Ave property, they allowed the removal of two limbs, but Mrs Harrison said she would have preferred to have the tree completely removed.

“It cost me $780 to have the two limbs removed, but I was still concerned about the size of the tree and then last year the lass next door’s driveway was being affected, so I spoke to Council again and they issued a work order that allowed root barrier work to be done – at a cost of $1400.

“I’m not pointing the bone at anyone, but I just rang the Council [on Wednesday] and let them know that part of the tree that I had been trying to have removed for five years had fallen down and damaged the roof of my home.”

A Kiama Council spokeswoman confirmed an application was received in 2009 to remove the Eucalyptus tree.

“During the assessment, which was undertaken in accordance with relevant arboriculture standards, there were no detectable weaknesses observed that would indicate failure in the roots, branches or trunk of the subject tree,” she said.

‘‘As a result, the application was declined and the council informed the applicant of the decision. In this letter the applicant was advised that they could seek a review which would need to be supported by an arborist’s report, including aerial assessment.’’

They also confirmed that in 2013 they later allowed work which was carried out to the tree’s root system. At that time an independent arborist employed by Kiama Council performed a tree assessment of the tree. At the time of this inspection the tree was ‘structurally sound and of normal vigour’. Council also noted that the recent high winds caused branch failure in the upper canopy of the tree  and that they would reassessing the. 

Mrs Harrison was full of praise for Kiama SES. 

“The accident happened after 4pm on Tuesday afternoon, so I rang the SES around 5pm,’’ she said. ‘‘They said they were flat-out but would get there as soon as they could – they arrived just before 10pm and after an inspection said it was too dangerous to work on it in the dark, but would be back the next morning.

“They arrived on Wednesday morning and put up a tarp, with the Commonwealth Bank builder due before the end of the week.”

Mrs Harrison said she would approach the council again to try and have the tree removed.

In anotehr close shave on Tuesday night a young Gainsborough family had a lucky escape injury when a huge gum snapped off around 5pm on Tuesday, fortunately falling away from the home.

“It was frightening – I was home with my boys when it snapped and two of them rang outside to see what had happened and came back into the house screaming – their bedroom is on the top corner of the house and they wouldn’t sleep there,” Tracey Clinch said.

SES attended on Wednesday morning and referred the job to a contractor as the limb was too big for them to move.

Visit http://www.kiamaindependent.com.au/story/2374728/record-winds-shred-the-south-coast/?cs=1838 for more photos from Tuesday’s big blow.

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