Despite a council decision not to remove a bunya tree (in background) adjoining the croquet grounds, Dorothy Gartery is worried about a potential risk to club members’ safety.
Despite a council decision not to remove a bunya tree (in background) adjoining the croquet grounds, Dorothy Gartery is worried about a potential risk to club members’ safety. Shannon Newley

Hazardous tree will stay

WARWICK Croquet Club members were enjoying a quiet game when a fierce storm struck the Rose City, launching the large branches of a neighbouring bunya tree onto the green.

The players ran to the clubhouse, with branches narrowly missing them.

After the incident the club launched a bid to have the tree removed but that was refused at the council general meeting this week. 

The matter was referred to Engineering Services director Peter See for further consideration at the December round of meetings.

Mr See said the tree had been an issue for council before and a decision was made by a previous council to remove the dangerous nuts each year - but not the tree.

"And we have been doing that," Mr See said.

"We had the tree checked by an arborist and it is in good health."

Croquet club secretary Beverly Bonnell wrote to the council on behalf of the shaken club after the October storm which resulted in branches being strewn across the green and a security light damaged.

"When the storm occurred, there were six members playing croquet on the lawn adjacent to the clubhouse shed and council tree," she wrote.

"The velocity of the limbs torn from the tree speared holes in the lawn and would, if they had hit the players, resulted in serious injury or possible death, depending on where a person was hit."

She said the club considered the tree an ongoing occupational health and safety hazard and called for its removal.

But Mr See said he had to wonder why they were even there during a storm and removing the healthy tree could set a dangerous precent.

"The bowls club has regularly requested a tree removal and surely thereafter we would get a request from them," he said.

Cr Denise Ingram said the suggestion of a possible death sounded "a little dramatic" to her.

But Warwick Croquet Club vice-president Dorothy Gartery said it was a disappointing result to hear the tree would remain.

"The fronds fall on the ground and we clear them up and we can bear that, it's not dangerous," Mrs Gartery said.

She said they weren't playing in the storm and were shocked by the rapid onset of the wind.

"There were six of us playing, the sky was turning dark and we were looking at the sky and thinking we had better stop," she said.

"We were collecting the equipment when there was a bang, like a truck was hitting the tree, and we just ran for our lives."

Mrs Gartery said the branches flew off the tree and speared into the green, some going as deep as 10cm.

"It was the rapid onset, the wind and ferocity, we just had to run and this is why it is of great concern," she said.

"We weren't being heroes out playing in the rain. There was certainly no rain when we decided to go inside."

She said council did attend to the mess after the storm.

"The council did come and clean up for us after the storm which was very kind of them," she said.


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