Removal of trees sparks anger among residents

Parnell Street.

Parnell Street.

The removal of six trees in Parnell Street on Valentine’s Day has sparked anger among residents in the area. 

Resident David Boardman said contractors on behalf of Essential Energy began removing trees on a Council strip at 7:30am. 

Essential Energy Regional Manager Southern, Sarah Roche said “Essential Energy has an obligation to undertake vegetation management around powerlines to maintain minimum safe clearance distances and to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of the local electricity network”. 

“Trees growing in close proximity to overhead powerlines can pose serious hazards to people, wildlife and the surrounding environment with potential for bushfires, property damage, injury and unplanned power outages,” she said. 

“Under legislation, Essential Energy is required to provide advance notice of vegetation work on private property.

“Essential Energy has consulted with Hilltops Council representatives regarding all planned vegetation work for the area.

“The removal of trees planted under powerlines on the council-owned nature strip in Parnell and Ford streets was work agreed upon with council due to the unsuitability of these species under powerlines and the level of trimming required to maintain safe clearances.”

Hilltops Council General Manager Anthony McMahon said there were plans in place to replace the trees. 

“In consultation with Essential Energy’s tree services contractor, it was agreed that some trees be removed in Parnell and Ford Streets as part of routine power line maintenance,” General Manager Anthony McMahon said.

“Preserving the amenity of Boorowa’s streetscape is an important part of Council’s work, and to that end, Council has plans to replace the trees with a similar species that is less likely to infringe on the overhead power lines.”

In a press release from early February, Essential Energy stated trees would be trimmed by the contractors, however made no mention of complete removal or what day the work would take place. 

“Our contractors use directional pruning techniques that remove branches growing towards a powerline and encourage re-growth away from the power network,” Acting regional manager Southern, Greg White, said. 

“This often requires trees to be trimmed to the nearest growth point beyond the minimum safety clearance. Over time, this will allow for vegetation re-growth, as required by regulations.”

The work is expected to be completed in late March.