From The Archives

Row over tree “butchering”

By Shepparton News

January 4, 1974

The lopping of trees in Corio St, Shepparton, yesterday by the SEC sparked off strong criticism from many residents.

They accused the SEC of butchering the trees, damaging front fences and blocking driveways.

The superintendent of council's parks and gardens (Mr Jack Blackshaw) said the trees had been mutilated and many could die.

But according to the district manager of the SEC the cutting was necessary and the SEC would get greater criticism if someone was killed by a falling wire.

The first City Council knew of the trees being lopped was when it received a phone call yesterday requesting it to remove the limbs and rubbish.

By afternoon the SEC had to be asked to stop cutting because the fallen limbs could not be cleared away fast enough.

Mr Blackshaw said cutting the trees at this time of year would cause them to "bleed" and a lot could be lost.

He said the sap was right up in the trees at the present time.

The proper time to trim them was in autumn after the leaves had fallen.

Mr Blackshaw also complained of the lack of co-operation from the SEC.

He said other trees had been mutilated in Balaclava Rd, Wyndham St and Georges Rd.

They had been lopped and the first council knew of them was when they saw the heaps of fallen limbs.

The chairman of council's parks and gardens gardens committee (Cr Murray Slee) said council would have to try and get better co-operation with the SEC.

He said that for some years council had been asked to trim trees and had done so.

But this time the trees had been cut before council was aware of it.

“If the trees are interfering with the power-lines I suppose they need trimming but it's a pity proper pollarding is not done in the autumn,” Cr Slee said.

He said some of the deciduous trees could be lost but the greatest danger was to the evergreens.

Mr Douglass said the trees had grown up through the low voltage wires and in some cases were up to the high voltage lines.

There had been four cases in 10 days of trees short circuiting wires.

Last night another short circuit occurred in Corio St, between Knight and Nixon Sts.

“It is a matter of having the trees left as they are or of residents having power supply. And we have to take some action before someone is hurt or perhaps killed by a falling wire,” Mr Douglas said.

He said that in the interests of safety and continuity of supply it was no use cutting the trees back a couple of feet.

Mr Douglas said there would be further cutting carried out in Corio St and any other streets where it was necessary.