PROTESTS against excessive tree lopping at Kaniva are gaining momentum as residents fight to save the town's trees.
Last week the Mail-Times published concerns from West Wimmera Shire Mayor Bruce Meyer and Kaniva resident Lyn Powell that Powercor had marked hundreds of the town's trees for removal or lopping.
Kaniva resident Annie Austin has now started a petition against the removal or excessive trimming of trees. The petition has already attracted about 100 signatures.
She said people were scared trees would be 'hacked' after Horsham and Nhill residents complained about excessive lopping in October and September last year.
"I am not claiming to be an expert on this but I am passionate about the trees so I thought I could do something to get the awareness out," she said.
"We have heard that at Nhill and in other areas Powercor has really hacked into trees.
"I started this because I got a letter from Powercor saying trees in our yard would be trimmed, which is fine, but they also said a beautiful tree on the nature strip outside our house would be removed with permission from West Wimmera Shire Council.
"I am just trying to get as much interest as possible to minimise the damage because there seems to be a need for us to stand up on this."
Mrs Austin said she hoped Powercor would listen to the community after a meeting with West Wimmera Shire Council on February 19.
"Until Powercor has a meeting with council it is all a bit up in the air," she said.
"The main thing is that there is enough time after that meeting for people to be aware and have a chance to voice their opinions.
"I just hope their decision is fair and reasonable and they take into consideration the expected maturity size of a tree and the likelihood of it ever reaching the powerlines."
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said Powercor would not lop or remove any marked trees in Kaniva for at least six months. "The key point of this is that these changes have come about because of the Black Saturday bushfires," he said.
"We know across Victoria that there were problems with trees hitting powerlines and causing fires so it is important that power companies implement the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
"I think it is up to Powercor to explain its rationale for the level of trimming and work with council and the community."
*Trees at Kaniva Recreation Reserve were felled because Powercor deemed them high risk. A spokesman said other marked trees in the town were low fire risk and lopping was not so urgent.