Trees and clean up

1. Clean up requests

We understand the devastation and frustration that the June storm has created in terms of fallen trees and debris that has been left behind, and appreciate the patience of our residents as we continue to work through the clean-up of the masses of tree debris.

The scale of the storm event is hard to fathom and, while we are working with our contractors to manage the challenging clean-up job at hand, we expect that it will take a significant time to complete.

We also need to ensure that works are prioritised effectively, which means that, while the immediate storm response is still being managed, clean-up works may be significantly delayed.

Updates on clean-ups are not available at this stage, so if you have lodged a clean-up request with us, please be assured that it will be actioned, and bear with us as we work through the massive job at hand. 

2. Tree Inspections and associated works – lodged before the June storm

Unfortunately, the emergency response required to the devastation experienced during the June storm has delayed inspections and works that were programmed before the storm event.

Our Tree Management Team are working together with our Contractors to prioritise these works amongst the more urgent storm response works, however we do acknowledge that this has required additional patience from our community.

We are constantly revising the priority of works according to the level of urgency, however updated timeframes for works are not available at this stage. If you have lodged a request with us, please be assured that it will be actioned, and bear with us as we work through the massive job at hand.

If, however, you believe that the condition of a tree has changed to pose an imminent threat, please take steps to ensure your safety, and call our Customer Experience Team with the update. 

3. Tree Inspections – lodged after the June storm

The June storm has resulted in a significant increase in the number of requests for inspections of trees on roadsides and in reserves. We have also run a proactive tree audit on the roads in the worst affected areas.

We are working through the large number of inspection requests, and at this stage the inspections are running to schedule.

Inspections are normally undertaken within 5 working days of receiving a request. Findings will be reported in approximately 2-3 weeks. If any urgent works are required these works will be reported at the time of inspection to allow prompt action.

We do acknowledge that non-urgent works may be significantly delayed due to the volume of outstanding work after the June storm. We are constantly revising the priority of works according to levels of risk; however updated timeframes are not available at this stage. If works are required, please be assured that they will be actioned, and bear with us as we work through the massive job at hand.

If, however, you believe that the condition of a tree has changed to pose an imminent threat, please take steps to ensure your safety, and call our Customer Experience Team with the update.

You may need to consider relocating temporarily until the tree can be made safe. This advice applies regardless of whether the tree is on your property or a neighbouring property (on either private, state or Council owned land).

Consider contacting a friend or family who might be able to offer you a place to stay or try engaging a property rental service such as AirBnB or Stayz.

You may even be eligible for a once-off payment from Department of Family Fairness and Housing to assist in finding emergency shelter and accommodation. To find out more about this option, phone Council on 1300 368 333. 

4. Private Tree Inspections

We understand the devastation this storm has created in terms of fallen trees and acknowledge the heightened level of community concern regarding trees on private properties.

Bushfire Recovery Victoria have recently announced a program to assist private property owners with tree assessments, where the tree has been affected by the June storm, and poses a threat to a place of residence or personal safety. Further information regarding this program, including a link to the registration form, is available on the Bushfire Recovery Victoria website: Registration for Assessment of Dangerous Trees | Victorian Government (www.vic.gov.au)

If the private tree you are concerned about has not been affected by the recent storm, or is not threatening a place of residence, the normal process for applying for a Private Tree Inspection must be followed.

Information regarding how to apply for a Private Tree Inspection can be found here.

We are receiving significantly more requests for inspection of trees on private property than normally experienced, which will result in some delay to inspections being completed. If you have lodged a request for a Private Tree Inspection with us, please be assured that it will be actioned, and bear with us as we work through the massive job at hand.

If, however, you believe that the condition of a tree has changed to pose an imminent threat, please take steps to ensure your safety, and call our Customer Experience Team with the update.

You may need to consider relocating temporarily until the tree can be made safe. This advice applies regardless of whether the tree is on your property or a neighbouring property (on either private, state or Council owned land).

Consider contacting a friend or family who might be able to offer you a place to stay or try engaging a property rental service such as AirBnB or Stayz.

You may even be eligible for a once-off payment from Department of Family Fairness and Housing to assist in finding emergency shelter and accommodation. To find out more about this option, phone Council on 1300 368 333. 

5. Inspection of trees on neighbour’s properties

We understand the devastation this storm has created in terms of fallen trees and acknowledge the heightened level of community concern regarding trees on private properties.

Bushfire Recovery Victoria have recently announced a program to assist private property owners with tree assessments, where the tree has been affected by the June storm, and poses a threat to a place of residence or personal safety. This can include a tree on a neighbour’s property, although the first step should be to discuss your concerns with your neighbour and encourage them to register with Bushfire Recovery Victoria themselves.

Further information regarding this program, including a link to the registration form, is available on the Bushfire Recovery Victoria website: Registration for Assessment of Dangerous Trees | Victorian Government (www.vic.gov.au)

If the private tree you are concerned about has not been affected by the recent storm, or is not threatening a place of residence, we continue to encourage residents to talk to their neighbour, who should follow the normal process for applying for a Private Tree Inspection. Information regarding how to apply for a Private Tree Inspection can be found here.

Should your neighbour refuse to apply for a Private Tree Inspection, or Customer Experience Team are able to lodge a request for review by our Safer Communities and Tree Management teams.

We are receiving significantly more requests for inspection of trees on private property than normally experienced, which will result in some delay to inspections being completed. If you have lodged a request with us, please be assured that it will be actioned, and bear with us as we work through the massive job at hand.

If, however, you believe that the condition of a tree has changed to pose an imminent threat, please take steps to ensure your safety, and call our Customer Experience Team with the update.

You may need to consider relocating temporarily until the tree can be made safe. This advice applies regardless of whether the tree is on your property or a neighbouring property (on either private, state or Council owned land).

Consider contacting a friend or family who might be able to offer you a place to stay or try engaging a property rental service such as AirBnB or Stayz.

You may even be eligible for a once-off payment from Department of Family Fairness and Housing to assist in finding emergency shelter and accommodation. To find out more about this option, phone Council on 1300 368 333. 

6. Use of logs from trees fallen on Council owned land

We share the sadness of our community over the loss of the trees in the June storm, and understand the community’s drive to ensure their value is appreciated.

In these early stages of the response, we have had to prioritise the moving of tree material out of the storm effected areas, in order to help clear roads and reserves.

We still have a significant amount of emergency works to be conducted and a there is a significant volume of clean-up work still required across the Yarra Ranges.

While we understand the desire to cut the material on the roadsides and take it for firewood, the potential risk to the individual, as well as other road users, is not something that Council can encourage.

Logs are being temporarily stockpiled and we are working with other agencies to assess how they can be most effectively and respectfully utilised, however due to the nature of the where they fell and the types of machines cleaning up material in local roads, much of the material was cut into lengths that make it difficult to use in commercial mills.

We are retaining hollow logs and stumps that can be repurposed in bushland sites to create habitat for local fauna. 

We have retained some of the big timber for artwork and furniture to be used at a later date. We expect that the clean-up works will continue for some time, however once they are complete, we plan to engage the community on the best way to commemorate this event, through art and/or furniture, in public parks in the Kalorama/Mt Dandenong/Olinda area.  

7. Access to tree logs from Council land

In order to manage the clean-up from the June storm effectively, we need to prioritise the moving of tree material out of the storm effected areas. This will enable us to clear roads and roadside reserves; therefore, we are not able to leave logs on roadsides for community use.

We are working towards finding uses for this tree material that supports the clean-up works and benefits the community as a whole.  

8. Logs on private property

The logistics behind harvesting, sorting and distributing logs from trees that fell during the June storm are complex, and beyond the normal scope of our resources.

Vic Forests have information on their website (click here: VicForests) for property owners who are interested in disposing of logs from their property. The logs must a minimum of 3m long and 40cm in diameter to qualify for this project.

Bushfire Recovery Victoria have recently announced a program to assist private property owners with clean-up of private property. To be eligible for the clean-up program, the affected property must contain structures – or buildings – that were destroyed or classified as being damaged beyond repair. Further information regarding this program, including a link to the registration form, is available on the Bushfire Recovery Victoria website: Storm and flood clean-up program | Victorian Government (www.vic.gov.au)

Branches that are up to 3m long and 25cm in diameter can be collected as part of Yarra Ranges Council’s Special Storm Event Branch Collection. Further information can be found on our website at: Special storm event tree branch collection Yarra Ranges Council.

9. Access to mulch

In order to manage the clean-up from the June storm effectively, we need to prioritise the moving of tree material out of the storm effected areas. This will enable us to clear roads and roadside reserves; therefore, we are not able to mulch logs and tree debris on roadsides.

Mulch has been delivered to several locations across Yarra Ranges, find a location near you

We cannot guarantee that mulch will always be available at these sites, however we will endeavour to replenish them when mulch is moved from the storm affected areas.

We are looking at a site in the hills that would be suitable for providing mulch for community use, and will start when safe, given the volume of contractors in the hills at present.

Unfortunately, we cannot arrange delivery of mulch.

10. Common Boundary Fencing – damaged during the June storm

We understand that many members of our community have had fences damaged by fallen trees during the June storm. Where the fence adjoins a Council owned park or reserve, we may contribute to the repair or replacement of the fence through our Common Boundary Fencing program.

Further information regarding the Common Boundary Fencing program, including a link to the application form, can be found here.

Unfortunately, Council doesn’t contribute to the repair or replacement of fences that adjoin roads, laneways or land that is owned by other authorities.

11. Nature strip works required after storm clean-up

Due to the very wet conditions at the time of the June storm, and the heavy equipment that is often required to remove fallen or hazardous trees, we understand that nature strips will have had some damage.

Our focus at this time needs to be the removal of hazardous trees and fallen timber, which is expected to take many months. In addition, the wet conditions and ongoing clean-up works mean that the timing for nature strip repairs is best delayed until the ground conditions improve.

If you have lodged a request for nature strip repair with us, please be assured that it will be actioned by the end of the year.

We understand that this long delay may be very frustrating for our residents, and sincerely appreciate your patience as we work through the clean-up and then move on to repairs.