Removal of Pine Trees In Bellavista Court, Plenty

Removal of Pine Trees In Bellavista Court, Plenty

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Katherine Gibbins started this petition to Nillumbik Shire Council

The pine trees in the middle of the road reservation outside 37-47 Bellavista Court should be removed as their location prevents vehicles from passing safely, particularly in the event of a bushfire when visibility can be severely limited. This has been an ongoing issue for some 15 years and action is now needed. We understand Nillumbik Shire is currently considering this issue and we support their removal.

The primary concern for all residents of Bellavista Court and Namatjira Avenue is the threat to lives and properties because these trees restrict, and may prevent, access for fire trucks and emergency vehicles for residents evacuating in the event of a fire. Not all bushfires occur on high risk fire days and thus it is not always possible for residents to leave their home the previous day. The removal of these trees has been strongly supported by the Plenty CFA over many years.

The threat of bushfires and their severity is increasing year on year and this issue has become increasingly important over the past 15 years since the issue was first raised.

The Plenty CFA and the residents of Bellavista Court have raised these concerns and requested the removal of these trees repeatedly over the past 10 years, including letters to the Shire, and representations to both Shire officers and councillors. It has also been raised regularly at meetings of the Plenty Gorge Precinct Management Committee (previously Plenty Gorge Fire Management Committee), of which Nillumbik is a member, but with no action to date by the Shire.

This area is in a high-risk Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) zone. The properties in Bellavista Court and Namatjira Avenue have all the highest features for a bad bushfire scenario, which the CFA confirms to us each year in our Community Fireguard meetings:

·        Very steep slopes,

·        North –South alignment of the Gorge which means the strong northerly winds on the worst bushfire days blow directly down the Gorge, and

·        Thick native bush (conservation zone) with no clearing or back-burning of the understory in at least the past 50 years

The residents of Bellavista Court and Namatjira Avenue are very vulnerable should a bushfire approach our properties and anything which hinders or restricts access for CFA and emergency vehicles to fight a fire puts both lives and properties at risk. The CFA and residents believe that’s exactly what these pine trees do.

Although there may be a significant cost to removing the trees, given the risk to human life and property, we believe it is a cost well justified.

As a resident of Bellavista Court/Namatjira Avenue, I request these pine trees be removed as soon as possible.

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