Council knew of gumnut dangers

THE Moira Council was aware of the danger from falling gumnuts long before a Tungamah woman slipped and fell heavily in 2009, a barrister said yesterday.

Barrister Trevor Monti, when outlining the case for Sherrie Lyn Britnell, said the council had received previous complaints about falls as a result of those slipping on the gumnuts.

Mr Monti said another woman had a fall on June 1, 2006, after stepping on them and reported the incident to the council.

She asked whether the gumnuts could be cleaned up and said they were dangerous.

That fall was caused by a different tree to the one where Mrs Britnell fell, but Mr Monti said it was “the same situation”.

Another woman who was seven months’ pregnant fell on the gumnuts on March 26, 2007.

She suffered a grazed knee and rolled her ankle.

The woman asked whether the area could be cleaned up or the tree removed.

Mr Monti said a council form indicated works to rectify the problem should be done.

It further stated: “Removal of the tree would be best”.

The council cleaned up the gumnuts about every 14 days when the nearby area was mowed.

“We say in this case that was grossly inadequate,” Mr Monti said.

A report from an arborist to the council in August, 2007, said there had been a number of accidents involving the gumnuts.

It said they acted as rollers under people’s feet.

The report was listed in the council minutes in December and the problem was raised at another council meeting on March 17, 2008.

There was formal consultation between the council and Yarrawonga’s Town Street Advisory Committee, the Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Association about the possible removal of trees.

The cost of removal and replacement with paving was estimated at $25,000, but was rejected.

The case is being heard before Justice David Beach.

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