Last week my breakfast reverie was interrupted by the sound of chainsaws close by. Looking out I saw a team of men in hi-vis jackets, two of whom had jumped the boundary fence to access my paddock and were cutting down a tree I’d planted a decade earlier. This was one of dozens of native habitat trees I’d planted over the years and which were now reaching the stage where all kinds of wildlife were returning and setting up home.
By the time I was able to have the chainsaws and chipper turned off, my eucalyptus was reduced to a sad broken stump and a pile of woodchips (unchipped it would have at least made wonderful firewood for next winter’s heating). The hi-vis guys informed me that they were contractors to Essential Energy and had authorisation to remove the tree, and that I would’ve received notification. No, didn’t happen. And no, they can’t just come onto private property unannounced.
The Essential Energy website tells me I can expect at least four days’ notice of vegetation management, but on the last two occasions I’ve received nothing. I understand the need to keep trees clear of powerlines but this kind of heavy-handed approach does nothing to engender cooperation from landowners. I would have thought that someone might have had the courtesy to at least knock on my door as the house is close by and clearly visible, to discuss the various options (trim/remove) with me. Oh, and I’m still waiting for the promised call from the contractor’s representative to discuss the matter!