Businesses demand immediate removal of tree at Chivers Hill car park

Lugarno business owners are demanding Georges River Council remove a large grey gum tree at the Lugarno Shopping Village car park at Chivers Hill after a nearby tree fell during last Sunday's wild weather.

"The tree fell across the end of the car park and landed on the cars parked in front of the IGA," said Business Owners Group of Lugarno representative Nick Christo said.

"Luckily it didn't happen on Saturday as the car park was full and people were everywhere."

It was one of three trees that the business owners have been asking Georges River Council to remove," Mr Christo said.

"What we warned the council of two years ago has happened," Mr Christo said.

Georges River Council said the fallen tree was not one of those the business owners had originally requested be removed and that the council's arborist will inspect the remaining tree.

Mr Christo said the fallen tree opened up a large hole in the ground and broke a water pipe.

"The open hole allowed more water to enter, undermining the other dangerous tree which is leaning significantly more than it had been. The SES subsequently removed his tree.

"Our group has been concerned about the safety of these three trees, in particular the large white trunked one adjacent to the pedestrian crossing.

"This concern was raised with council in 2018 only to be told that the council's tree surgeon assessed the trees and advised they were healthy.

"These trees, while attractive, are completely inappropriate to the area. They grow too tall, are top-heavy and either drop large branches or fall.

"Over the past three years, four cars have been damaged by these trees. It has only been sheer luck that no-one was injured or killed."

Mr Christo has suggested the council contact their insurers and to compensate the people whose trees were damaged by the fallen tree last weekend.

"We insist the council removes the remaining dangerous large tree as a matter of urgency.

"Like we advised two years ago, it is not a matter of of it when fall but when."

Georges River Council is aware that a large multi -trunked Eucalyptus Punctata (Grey Gum) failed at ground level as a result of extreme weather, on Sunday, February 9, a council spokesperson said.

"The council had not received a request for the removal of this tree.

"Upon further inspection on Monday, February 10, Council's Tree Management team advised that the cause of failure was due to extreme and prolonged rainfall and high winds.

"In May 2018, the Business Owners Group of Lugarno requested removal of the existing Grey Gum located near the crossing in the car park. Council's qualified arborists have been monitoring the tree since it was reported and to-date there have been no failures from this tree.

"The failure of nearby trees in the car park on Sunday has now exposed this existing Grey Gum tree to more north and westerly winds. Council's qualified arborists will conduct a further assessment on the Grey Gum in accordance with Australia Standards AS/NZS ISO 31000 - 2009 Risk Management.

"The assessment will determine if the Grey Gum should be removed or retained."