Lack of regular tree culling in Melbourne is causing havoc in inner suburbs, as roots have caused several historic buildings to collapse.
Residents of Melbourne’s inner suburbs have described the horror felt when a seemingly stable church was found to have collapsed during Saturday night. Founded in 1905, the church still held Sunday services and was used for a number of community events.
Anna Greenwood, 54, has described the heartbreak of residents as they come to terms with the church’s destruction.
“It was the centre of our community,” says Anna. “I’ve lived here my whole life, and I have no words for how important this church was to us.”
Earlier in the year, local council members rejected calls by resident to contact a tree pruning company for Melbourne suburbs.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that a tree from a nearby vacant lot was the cause of the problem, as the roots had spread underneath the church and weakened the foundations.
The incident was not isolated, as nearby suburb Everton Park also suffered the loss of its post office a week earlier. The floor of the building, which had stood for nearly sixty years, was deemed critically unsafe by the local council after roots had begun to grow through the concrete floor.
“Now they’re saying the whole building has to go,” says post office employee Michael Every, 42. “Eighteen years I’ve worked here. And few roots have just wrecked the place. No one could’ve even seen this coming.”
A survey conducted by the Melbourne Groundwork Committee has uncovered a number of similar incidents in recent years which could have been avoided by scheduled tree removal. Windsor residents have started taking matter into their own hands with chainsaws.
The Groundwork Committee has urged residents to take notice of seemingly inconspicuous trees on or around their property, and has cautioned homeowners to conduct a proper investigation into any foundation issues.
“Don’t wait until roots start coming through the floor,” says Graham Kendris, chairman of the BGC. “By the time it reaches that stage, it’s too late. You can’t tell what’s happening underground, so be vigilant on what you can see.”