TREES GET CHOP TO END 25-YEAR NEIGH­BOUR WAR

Ten­sions peaked when Cy­clone Mar­cia sent four large palm trees crash­ing into re­tirees’ Yep­poon house.

The Morning Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Gre­wal jes­sica.gre­wal@apn.com.au

AN UGLY neigh­bour­hood dis­pute that saw a re­tired Yep­poon cou­ple at war, for al­most two decades, with the tree-lov­ing woman next door has fi­nally been set­tled in a Bris­bane court.

Hav­ing put up with an ob­structed view since the late 1990s and wak­ing to the thud of fall­ing palm fronds and screech­ing fruit bats, Thomas and June Young will sleep bet­ter know­ing at least 20 of the of­fend­ing trees are in for the chop fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion handed down in the Queens­land Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal.

The tri­bunal heard that noise and in­ter­rupted wa­ter sup­ply from the tree roots were among the many fac­tors im­pact­ing the cou­ple’s qual­ity of life since Stephanie Salmon moved onto the Bar­lows Hill prop­erty in 1998, plant­ing dozens of palm trees – 35 of which hung over the shared fence.

Ten­sions be­tween the neigh­bours peaked in 2015 when the heavy fo­liage pro­vided per­fect fuel for Cy­clone Mar­cia, which sent four large palm trees crash­ing into the Youngs’ home and de­bris fly­ing across their pa­tio.

The Youngs claimed their en­joy­ment of their land was gone and pre­vi­ous at­tempts to sell had failed be­cause buy­ers were put off by the ob­tru­sive trees.

But while the tri­bunal ul­ti­mately found in favour of the Youngs, ques­tion­able be­hav­iour from both sides of the fence was noted.

In the late ’90s, lawyers for the Salmon fam­ily com­plained to the Youngs about them tres­pass­ing, ha­rass­ing their trades­peo­ple and “gen­er­ally be­ing a nui­sance”.

Mrs Salmon pro­vided ev­i­dence of com­plaints made to po­lice and the Liv­ing­stone Shire Coun­cil al­leg­ing un­law­ful car­a­van camp­ing on her land and pet ne­glect – all of which were al­legedly made by the Youngs and were found to be without sub­stance.

She re­jected the ar­gu­ment the Youngs had sea views un­til she moved in, al­leg­ing that Mr Young had slashed, ring-barked and poi­soned trees in her yard to im­prove his view. She also claimed she had been ad­vised by an en­gi­neer that re­moval of her palm trees would “mag­nify dam­age” be­ing caused by roof and sur­face wa­ter run-off from the Youngs’ prop­erty.

QCAT mem­ber Paul Favell said he was not sat­is­fied the Youngs had a sea view when they moved onto their prop­erty and ac­cepted plants and trees were poi­soned to cre­ate a bet­ter view. He did how­ever agree with the re­port of a tree as­ses­sor that rec­om­mended the re­moval of sev­eral palms and other main­te­nance on Mrs Salmon’s prop­erty.

Mrs Salmon of­fered to re­move 10 cocoa palms from the prop­erty.

The tri­bunal or­dered her to re­move a fur­ther 10 ma­ture palms.

She will also have to un­der­take six-monthly clear­ing of the shared bound­aries in­clud­ing the re­moval all over­hang­ing fronds and fruit­ing ma­te­rial from within a metre of the fence.

Stephanie Salmon moved onto the prop­erty in 1998, plant­ing dozens of palm trees – 35 ofwhich hung over the shared fence.

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