West Haven resident says bushfires highlight the need to clean up hazardous trees risk

DEAD TREES: Laurieton resident Maggie Adkins said she is concerned about the dead trees around her house.

DEAD TREES: Laurieton resident Maggie Adkins said she is concerned about the dead trees around her house.

One Laurieton resident is concerned about the number of rotting, dead trees around the Camden Haven.

Maggie Adkins said at the height of the bushfire threat around the Hastings, if winds had changed and embers had flown in different directions, a large number of houses would have been severely impacted.

Ms Adkins said she has contact Port Macquarie-Hastings Council a number of times since October 2019 but still the dangerous trees remain. Of the 827 tree-related matters on council's priority list, this concern is ranked at number 23, council has confirmed.

"On October 1, I called the council to report dead trees on council land approximately 20 feet from my home and I am still waiting for something to be done," Ms Adkins said.

"Most experts were saying this was going to be a dangerous fire season and I felt removing these trees would be important to council. Unfortunately, a number of calls, emails and four and a half months later, they are still there."

Ms Adkins said even despite the repeated calls to council, and council workers coming to look at the the rotting trees, they have not been removed.

"On February 14 a dead tree across the road shattered and parts of it fell to the ground, rotten inside," she said.

"It fell in an area where school children walk twice a day.

"About five weeks after I made my October phone call, two council workers came out to look at the trees. At least two trees were marked to be removed and we were told by the council employees that the underbrush needed to be cleared as well as the trees removed.

"It appears the underbrush created a fire danger, but it is still there over four months later.

"In November we were evacuated and the dead trees were still there. I called again and was told I would get an email. Months later the trees are still there and I have never received an email.

"I called council again in February because it became obvious that even though we are not in immediate danger of fire, dead trees can rot and fall or simply break apart."

She also questioned how long it would be before a rotten tree with roots compromised by drought and then extreme amounts of rain lands on homes around Hoschke Road.

IDENTIFIED: A number of trees have been marked for removal by council.

IDENTIFIED: A number of trees have been marked for removal by council.

"The other dead tree is a casuarina which explodes in fire because of its oil content - it would be exploding onto my roof and others."

A spokesperson for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council said there is a long list of trees identified to be removed across the local government area.

"The trees identified for removal are on council's high priority list. Due to recent bushfire and weather events, our crews have had to re-focus their efforts, however as soon as practical the trees will be removed," a spokesperson said.

Ms Adkins said this week she received correspondence from council giving her an update as to where council was at with its tree maintenance.

"On February 20 I received an email stating that my task remains on councils' work list as a priority two and is currently listed as task 23 of 827," she said.

"Task 23 out of 827 in over four months? Why hasn't council realised this is a major problem and assigned more employees to keep homes and citizens safe."