Near miss sparks fresh concern over trees

Chloe Atherton outside her home. Photo: Megan Dunn.
Share this story

Chloe Atherton was sitting inside her Jordan Springs home on Saturday afternoon when she heard a loud bang.

Racing outside she saw a large gum tree had fallen over, damaging her two cars, fence and the front of her house.

But it was also mere seconds from being fatal.

“We actually had someone walking up our driveway at the time and the tree branch has fallen either side of him, so it was centimetres from hitting him,” she said.

It is not the first time a tree has fallen in the vicinity.

In February, a tree 50 metres away came down, prompting neighbours to write to Penrith Council.

Ms Atherton claims a nearby sewerage problem, which Council is aware of, contributed to the Council-owned tree toppling over during last weekend’s ferocious winds, which saw gusts of up to 78km/hr lash the region.

“Obviously there’s something wrong with the sewer, obviously they know there is water seeping, so it’s going to be destroying the roots underneath and making everything loose,” she said.

The fallen tree caused plenty of damage.

Local SES received 75 call outs, most of which related to tree damage, SES media officer John-luc Miller said.

Councillor Kevin Crameri believes it is only a matter of time before someone is killed, saying you shouldn’t have 30 to 40-metre trees sitting next to a house.

“We had trees that fell down at the end of the drought, we had trees that fell down at the end of the rain and we have trees coming down in the wind,” he said.

“They are taking out power lines and they can also take out people, and that’s the worry.”

Chloe Atherton outside her home. Photo: Megan Dunn.

A Council spokesman said more than 24,000 trees have been inspected across the LGA under Council’s ‘critical tree assessment program’, with dedicated arborists working on a constant basis to ensure tree risks are identified and urgently mitigated.

“While trees may present a number of risks, they are also valued for their contribution to habitat and streetscape character and Council’s Cooling the City Strategy,” he said.

“Current and proposed policy allows residents to remove dead, dying or dangerous trees without the need for approval by Council.

“Proposed changes make this simpler by exempting all trees within three meters of a dwelling.”

Share this story