Anger over ‘brutal’ pruning in New Gisborne

Pruning of heritage trees to clear powerlines in New Gisborne's main street has been described by angry residents as "brutal". Photo: John Barnes

Recent pruning of heritage trees to clear powerlines in New Gisborne’s main street has been described by angry residents as “brutal”.
Local resident Ray Keane said the beautiful oaks and elms that lined Station Street were more than 100 years old.
“We contacted Powercor and we met a couple of representatives on site and expressed our concern as to how unsympathetic the pruning was,” Ray said.
“It just seems to be more brutal this time than in other years.”
“We asked ‘would it be acceptable in a leafy suburb in Melbourne?’ I’m quite certain it wouldn’t be.”
A Powercor spokesperson said managing vegetation around powerlines was an important part of the company’s bushfire mitigation program.
“While we make the best efforts to accommodate individual cutting requirements, management of bushfire and compliance risk remains the key objective of the program,” the spokesperson said.
“We have been developing an improved approach to managing particular trees in this area with the shire council and understand (residents’) concerns about the tree cutting on Station Road.”
The complaints follow similar dissatisfaction with Powercor’s pruning of trees in a heritage area of Lancefield last November.
Residents lodged complaints with the company following the maintenance works in Dunsford Street, which is home to magnificent aged horse chestnut trees.
Powercor later apologised for the pruning being taken a step too far.
“We have spoken directly with our cutting crews about the need to take care when cutting trees,” the spokesperson said.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s director of assets and operations Shane Walden said council was disappointed with both the severity and the quality of the pruning undertaken in New Gisborne.
“Council quickly moved to address the poor-quality pruning and held an urgent meeting with Powercor representatives on February 13 to resolve this ongoing problem,” Mr Waldon said.
“Council officers and Powercor are working together to agree on a tree management plan for Powercor’s pruning activities within the township areas of the Macedon Ranges.”

The trees before the pruning.