To remove or not to remove, that is the question when it comes to a row of gum trees in North Warrnambool which is home to a couple of koalas.
The trees were earmarked for removal on Monday but concerns about the koalas that live there has resulted in the plans being brought to a halt, at least temporarily.
Neighbour Sue McDonough said two years ago she had asked the council to trim the trees - which had been planted 13 years ago along her fenceline - because they were getting too tall and becoming dangerous.
She said she was told they would have to be removed, something she didn't want.
But when debris falling from the tree smashed her new sliding door recently causing $680 damage, and was then told the roots were impacting sewer pipes and stormwater, she reluctantly agreed the trees needed to be removed.
Fearing for the two koalas, that she has named Vegemite and Snowy, that live there she called wildlife workers asking that they step in to help have the koalas safely relocated.
She said she had done the right thing and tried to help the koalas, and would be happy to have six to eight metres taken out of the trees and for the council to trim them regularly rather than them being cut down.
The council had planned to have all the trees removed, but after concerns were raised they said they would scale back the works and cut down only 10 of the 21 trees instead.
Then council decided the removal would be postponed until the situation had been reassessed.
Mosswood Wildlife founder Tracey Wilson said the situation in the city's north where council was scheduled to remove 21 blue gum trees on Monday highlighted the lack of koala habitat in the city.
She said she had grave concerns for the city's rare koala population, fearing it would become extinct in as little as six years if the Warrnambool council failed to replace the tall trees it removes with like species.
Ms Wilson and other resident and wildlife volunteers wrote to council late last week, centering around their fears the resident koalas would lose their habitat and food sources and urging the council to reconsider its decision asking them to trim the trees instead.
"Our immediate concern is for the koalas that use these blue gums as very important food source trees, Ms Wilson said.
"The area has very little habitat for koalas to use and as their gut flora is unique to certain eucalyptus species, their choices are limited."
She said the city already lacked tall trees, which koalas use to traverse from the back of King's College along the Russells Creek walking track to Albert Park and Lake Pertobe.
A wildlife rescuer has grave concerns for the city's rare koala population, fearing it will become extinct in as little as six years if the Warrnambool council fails to replace the tall trees it removes with like species.
Mosswood Wildlife founder Tracey Wilson said a situation in the city's north where council was scheduled to remove 21 blue gum trees on Monday, further highlighted the lack of koala habitat in the city.
She said she was made aware Warrnambool City Council would remove the blue gum trees from the Russells Creek walking path, with the removal to start this week.
Council said the trees, planted by residents, were scheduled for removal because they were less than one metre from the next door property and were in very close proximity to privately built assets, including fences and a shed.
Ms Wilson and other resident and wildlife volunteers wrote to council late last week, centering around their fears the resident koalas would lose their habitat and food sources.
Ms Wilson said at least three resident koalas and others used the plantation, urging council to reconsider its decision.
In the email, Ms Wilson asked if council could instead trim the trees or those immediately behind the shed which would "safeguard the asset".
"Our immediate concern is for the koalas that use these blue gums as very important food source trees, Ms Wilson said. "The area has very little habitat for koalas to use and as their gut flora is unique to certain eucalyptus species, their choices are limited."
She said the city already lacked tall trees, which koalas use to traverse from the Russells Creek walking track and surrounding streets, to Albert Park and onto parts of Lake Pertobe. Instead they were forced to travel on the ground, where they were attacked by dogs and hit by cars, many of which Mosswood volunteers regularly rescued and rehabilitated.
Ms Wilson said council's position on the tree removal "hardly fits with the vision of the Warrnambool Green document" which states Warrnambool will "become a city in nature" and "an increase in tree canopy cover in our urban areas will provide shade and carbon sinks..."
In response to Ms Wilson's and others' concerns, council reviewed the number of trees to be removed, vowing to retain 10 of the 21 trees, including any that have habitat or koalas in them.
An email from Warrnambool City Council chief executive Peter Schneider and mayor Vicki Jellie said council had "previously received numerous requests to trim/remove trees at this location".
"Removing any trees is not considered unless there are several risk factors that determine the need. Any removals require off-set plantings," the email said.
"This has been a lengthy process co-ordinating contractors and after staff spoke with Tracey Wilson from Mosswood Wildlife today and finding the koala population in the trees, we have changed our plans and will retain half (10) of the trees including any that have habitat/ koalas," Mr Schneider and Ms Jellie said in the email.
Ms Wilson said she was grateful council had listened and reconsidered removing all the trees but said the "long-term future of koalas is still at risk if there's not serious plantings done".
"Although we appreciate council has reconsidered, this action alone won't provide the necessary habitat for even these three (resident) koalas, let alone any others in the area and will threaten the long-term viability of koalas in the city of Warrnambool," Ms Wilson said.
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