Safety 'out on a limb'
WHEN Theo and Jacqueline Glinatsis woke yesterday morning to find a tree had crashed on to their balcony, they were angry to find it was the same one they had been complaining to Gold Coast City Council about for years.
The Coolangatta couple were left without power from about midnight on Wednesday until Thursday morning, because a power line that ran between the tree and their house was taken out.
The Glinatsises have been in a long-running dispute with the council over the sick tree, which fell in Wednesday night's wild weather.
The tree was actually planted by the husband and wife back in 1979, when they received it as a housewarming gift.
They say the fall could have been avoided had council acted on their complaints.
“Do we have to wait so long for something like this to happen to get an agreement with council to avoid all this stress?” Mrs Glinatsis asked.
Their solid concrete house suffered no damage from the fall, but for the Glinatsises, it is just more proof that their Rutledge Street neighbourhood is the most “neglected” on the Gold Coast.
But the council says there was no need to cut down the tree until it rapidly became sick in the last year.
“The tree was actually planted by the owners, who have contacted council previously and requested that it be removed,” a council spokesman said.
“Council staff have inspected the tree each time, and could not justify removing it because the tree was found to be healthy, even as recently as April of 2008.
“The owners requested another inspection on the January, 27, 2009 and the tree was assessed again, this time council staff noted that the tree's health had rapidly declined.”
“The tree was identified for removal but before this could happen recent strong winds have caused a branch to fall into the owners' yard.
“The branch was immediately removed from the yard and no damage was recorded to the premises or property.”
Mrs Glinatsis disputed the tree had rapidly become sick and said it had been in decline for years.
Mr Glinatsis said Rutledge Street had long been neglected by the council and he was sick of having his car scratched by overhanging branches from trees in the street. The couple were both worried about the fire danger posed by dense undergrowth in the area.
Mr Glinatsis admitted he had been threatened with massive fines years ago after landscaping the nature strip next to the house.