More tree dan­ger at Mer­ri­jig

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS / PEOPLE -

THE ar­ti­cle, “Tree ac­tion on Mid­land High­way” in the Mans­field Courier on Fe­bru­ary 5, in­di­cat­ing that work will com­mence in com­ing weeks on the sec­tion be­tween Fords Creek and Sov­er­eign Court, has sparked some ac­tion from an­other part of the shire.

David Hume, who lives on Mt Buller Road at Mer­ri­jig, has penned a let­ter to Bryan Sher­ritt, VicRoads re­gional di­rec­tor, re­gard­ing the over­hang­ing trees in that part of the area.

“I firmly un­der­stand that there are two ma­jor risks re­lat­ing to over­hang­ing tree limbs - the first is clearly those which are some­times called ‘Widow Mak­ers’ where fall­ing limbs can cause se­ri­ous in­jury or death to any per­son/s who are un­lucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mr Hume said in his let­ter.

“The sec­ond ma­jor risk re­lates to pe­ri­ods of bush­fire, when over­hang­ing limbs are an even greater dan­ger, if they catch fire and fall, or in­deed fall be­cause of the strong winds known to ex­ist at these times.

“Even if they do not hit any­body, there is great dan­ger that they can block the high­way.”

Mr Hume noted that at a re­cent CFA meet­ing at the Mer­ri­jig Hall, it was clearly ex­plained that the fire dan­ger for res­i­dents of Saw Mill Set­tle­ment, was se­vere, and they were strongly ad­vised to leave early.

“A hand out brochure was on the ta­ble ad­dressed to the SMS group and it clearly made this point,” Mr Hume ex­plained.

“The only place of refuge in­di­cated they should go to is the Pin­na­cle Val­ley Re­sort.

“If one then con­sid­ers the prob­lem fur­ther, it is clear that this ad­vice should also ap­ply to those of Changue Road and Alpine Ridge.”

Mr Hume vis­ited Pin­na­cle Val­ley Re­sort, and dis­cussed the prob­lem with one of their fire crew.

“It was pointed out that not only do they have to pos­si­bly shel­ter many of the above group, but there are likely to be some of their own guests who de­cide to re­main there,” he out­lined.

“Log­i­cally, t heir shel­ter space will be heav­ily taxed.

“It is clear there­fore that those who choose to go to the neigh­bor­hood safer place at Mans­field, in­clud­ing all the res­i­dents along the high­way, may be in dan­ger from fall­ing limbs, and even worse, may be trapped and not able to re­turn if the road ahead is blocked.”

Mr Hume pointed out to Mr Sher­ritt that there are two re­ally dan­ger­ous sec­tions, the first is be­tween Saw Mill Set­tle­ment, Pin­na­cle Val­ley and the Tim­ber­top turn off, and the sec­ond is the sub­di­vi­sion sec­tion start­ing about one kilo­me­tre fur­ther to­ward Mer­ri­jig and con­tin­u­ing on al­most to Mer­ri­jig.

“From Mer­ri­jig to Mans­field the road is fairly safe, ex­cept that the grass on ei­ther side of the road is much too high at the mo­ment and could pro­duce flames three to four me­tres high, where people may have to drive,” Mr Hume noted.

Mr Hume has asked Mr Sher­ritt to ar­range in­spec­tion of the prob­lem ar­eas men­tioned above, and take what­ever ac­tion is deemed to be wise, to greatly re­duce or elim­i­nate the dan­gers to life men­tioned there.

“As I was one of the chair­men of t he Alpine Re­sorts Com­mis­sion, I am aware that VicRoads is re­spon­si­ble for the Mans­field - Mt Buller Road, and I am con­cerned that mat­ters of le­gal li­a­bil­ity could arise if ad­e­quate main­te­nance is not car­ried out to rec­tify the con­sid­er­able dan­gers out­lined above,” he added.

PHOTO: David Hume

TREE DAN­GER: Some of the over­hang­ing trees above the Mt Buller Road that res­i­dent David Hume is con­cerned about.

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