IT’S a 500-year-old red gum, 7½ metres around its girth.
But the magnificent and ancient tree is burying John Deathridge’s Wodonga home under tonnes of bark and leaf litter.
The former plumber and pizza shop owner said he and his wife aren’t getting any younger and need help shifting the bark from the tree that sits on Felltimber Creek Road, directly in front of his 13-year-old home.
But Mr Deathridge said council had spent more time finding excuses than it would have taken to have a truck come and pick it up.
“I wouldn’t bother with all of this if it was just any tree,” he said.
“But we are not getting any younger and the bark and leaves keep falling.
“Over the years we have taken away truck-loads of bark. Throughout the year we get leaves blown into the yard, then the bark starts falling in January and hasn’t stopped yet.
“We have cleaned up massive branches and tonnes of bark and leaves but we can simply no longer maintain the tree, we are both almost 70.”
But Wodonga Council’s planning and infrastructure director Leon Schultz said they can’t offer preferential treatment.
“We will always clean up the leaves that fall on the road reserve but not on people’s properties,” he said.
“But in this case we offered an irregular clean-up but that was refused; we certainly weren’t about to make a special trip to clean it up.
“We have had an arborist check the tree and it is healthy, we don’t believe it poses any safety risks.”
A landscaper neighbour estimated the tree was 500 years old.
“I’m sure if it was on our property and leaving leaf litter on the road then council would be asking us to clean it up and yet we have just been stonewalled,” Mr Deathridge said.
“I think they wasted more time arguing why they can’t do it as opposed to why they can.
“All we want is a bit of a hand to clean it up.
“They offered some help but when we asked when they could do it they couldn’t say what week or month.”