LARGE, overhanging branches are causing concern among some local motorists, but council is unconvinced the trees are as dangerous as residents say.
City of Greater Bendigo parks and open space manager Paul Gangell said council managed 2000km of rural roads.
“Many of our roadsides have overhanging vegetation that pose minimal risk to the travelling public; however, branches can fail through seasonal conditions and storm events,” Mr Gangell said.
McNutts Lane resident Robert Reardon said he had been reporting dangerous branches for months now and nothing had been done, aside from one inspection on North Costerfield Rd.
Mr Gangell said tree inspections were carried out in Heathcote once every four years.
“The city’s inspecting arborist does respond to customer requests,” Mr Gangell said.
“They consider encroachment, probability of failure, road usage and habitat values when deciding if any works are required.
“If residents are concerned about a particular roadside tree, city staff will inspect and carry out an assessment based on these factors.”
Mr Gangell said many roadside trees were rare remnants of Australia’s pre-European history, growing in undisturbed pockets of biodiversity.
“Our roadsides support pockets of remnant vegetation, are a source of Indigenous seed stock and provide corridors linking isolated stands of Indigenous vegetation,” the council said.
The recent resident concern in Heathcote comes at an inopportune time for the council, which has launched its first urban forest strategy.
The strategy is currently on public exhibition for comment, and is a 50-year strategic vision to increase tree cover and improve tree health across the townships of Greater Bendigo.
City of Great Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said: “The city manages and maintains over 100,000 urban trees across Greater Bendigo in local streets and public open spaces and plants over 1000 new trees every year.
“Our trees and greenspaces are essential to creating a liveable community by providing shade and cooling in our urban areas. They also promote physical and mental wellbeing and improve the quality of water, soils and ecosystems.”
The greening strategy can be viewed at bendigo.vic.gov.au/greening