HEAVY pruning of trees by electricity provider Powercor will continue in Glenelg Shire as part of required bushfire prevention but significant trees will be protected for at least six more months.
Glenelg Shire Cr Karen Stephens said trees including the Norfolk Island pines on Bentinck St and those lining main thoroughfares in small towns had been given a six-month grace period from pruning by Powercor — in that time council must prove the trees’ significance or they will be cut back savagely.
“We’ll save those trees but we won’t save all the flowering gums in the side streets of Casterton… it doesn’t save our back streets at all,” Cr Stephens said.
Following an amendment to the Electricity Safety Regulations in 2010 based on the Bushfire Royal Commission, Powercor must clear vegetation from around powerlines for at least 30cm and ranging up to 3.5 metres in high risk areas. Low-risk urban fire areas such as Portland have a clearance level typically of two metres.
The legislation also says the clearance level should be increased to compensate for regrowth between cutting times, roughly every three years, and Powercor intends to compensate for growth by creating a clearance level of five metres, according to Cr Stephens.
Read more in Friday’s edition of the Portland Observer.