Petition to save Moe trees

Pam Davidson and housemate Zij Shaan have organised a petition to prevent the removal of nature strip trees in Staff Street, Moe. file photograph

Pam Davidson and housemate Zij Shaan have organised a petition to prevent the removal of nature strip trees in Staff Street, Moe. file photograph

Staff Street residents in Moe have taken matters into their own hands to prevent the removal of mature Melaleuca trees which have lined the street for three decades but were at risk of getting the chop.

Last week The Express reported resident Pam Davidson was concerned about council's lack of consultation surrounding their pending removal and called on Latrobe City to reverse its decision to "stop the destruction".

Council's response prompted Ms Davidson to head up a petition and door-knock houses in the area to prevent the removal of the mature trees, some as tall as 30 feet.

In the story, council said if 50 per cent of the residents objected to trees being removed after being notified in writing by council, it could reconsider its decision.

Ms Davidson said more than 85 per cent of residents had signed the petition.

"In the past two days we typed up the petition and have gone door-to-door with all positive responses and we now have 44 signatures," Ms Davidson said.

"Those residents have also claimed they didn't receive a letter from council in April notifying the trees would be cut down.

"The response we received from the Staff Street residents was very positive and very supportive."

In a statement last week, Latrobe City Council general manager infrastructure and recreation Steve Piasente said letters were sent in December 2017 and April this year to advise the trees were being removed.

However, Ms Davidson said no residents had received correspondence from the council about the removal of the trees.

Ms Davidson, who is legally blind and worked as a horticulturalist, said the trees were not destroying essential services or damaging nearby footpaths.

"I'm very aware of footpaths and ... know for a fact there's nothing wrong with the trees," she said.

"I'll take it further if council don't listen to the ratepayers. Council have stated publicly that if I get 50 per cent of residents in Staff Street they will stop the cutting down of the trees ... and now they need to listen to us."

About half a dozen people in the street chose to not sign the petition, including one person who was concerned about the height of the trees.

However, in a statement council claimed it hand-delivered 82 letters to residents in Staff Street on December 18 last year explaining the proposed removal of the trees.

Latrobe City Council general manager infrastructure and recreation Steve Piasente said council received eight responses – two opposing the removal and six supporting it.

"If 50 per cent of residents had been opposed to the works the removals would not have proceeded," Mr Piasente said.

"Council officers hand-delivered further letters on the 4 April indicating that we would be proceeding with the removal of the trees.

"At this point the works have been suspended. If the petition is received within the next week, council will not remove any further trees until the petition has been presented."

Mr Piasente said it demonstrated council had listened to the concerns of the residents and would delay any further works until it considered the petition.

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