CONCERNED: Brian and Rosemary Ross are wondering about tree laws after a gum fell onto their property.
CONCERNED: Brian and Rosemary Ross are wondering about tree laws after a gum fell onto their property. Mike Richards

Neighbour's tree crashes into yard during storm

LAST week's storm could have proved fatal to elderly homeowners Brian and Rosemary Ross after a large neighbouring gum tree fell onto their yard.

The couple's home is surrounded by properties containing gum trees standing more than 20m tall, and they fear another one could fall and hurt someone.

"I was sleeping at the time of the storm and when I awoke I found one of the gums had taken down the fence," Mrs Ross said.

"Brian and I walked outside to see that another head of one was all over the clothes hoist."

After the initial shock wore off, the couple said their emotions quickly turned to anger after realising their neighbour's poorly maintained yard was to blame.

"What shocked us most was the fact that a tree of that size could easily take a life, and we feel lucky to have escaped with only minor damage," Mr Ross said.

"We need some kind of prevention rather than reaction."

Since their near-miss the couple has hired a plumber and workmen to take the debris away, but are left questioning who takes responsibility.

"Ideally, trees should be regulated and you shouldn't be allowed to plant trees that grow to more than double the height of a house," Mr Ross said.

"I appreciate Australian nature but Gladstone is too highly dense with residential property for bloodwoods and gums.

"There should be a bylaw and accountability for instances like this."

Mr Ross has inquired with the council on steps to cover liability issues.

He also applied to become a council representative.

WHAT TO DO:

If a neighbour's trees are affecting you:

  • Find out the rules - know your legal responsibilities as a tree-keeper
  • Talk to your neighbour
  • If you agree on a situation, get it in writing
  • Seek legal advice
  • Go to mediation
  • For information, go to http://www.qld.gov.au and search for "Disputes about fences, trees and buildings"


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