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AU Home owner ordered to cut down kauri pine tree after neighbour complains it made him itchy

Property Here - Friday, September 27, 2013

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THE owner of a 21-metre kauri pine has been ordered to cut down the 50-year-old backyard tree, after his neighbour complained it made him itchy, afraid and caused damage.

Michael Collins told a tribunal when he went into his southside Brisbane backyard, or even slept on sheets dried on the clothes line, he broke out in itchy red blotches.

He said allergy tests had confirmed he suffered a reaction to the Queensland kauri pine’s pollen.

But the Tarragindi tree owner Alan McNeil, who is still fighting to save the kauri, suggested his neighbour wear a face mask in his own backyard, or stay indoors.

Mr Collins says he and his family live in constant fear of the neighbours’ overhanging tree toppling in a severe storm and claims they have been bruised and cut by falling pine cones.

Cut down that tree, it makes me itchy

The Kauri pine at the centre of the dispute.

Mr Collins has been trying to get his neighbour to get rid of the tree since 1989 and on August 19 a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member ordered it be removed within 28 days.

But Mr McNeil, who also was ordered to pay his neighbour $2365 compensation, has appealed the decision, which could end up costing him thousands of dollars for the tree removal.

The tribunal heard the branches overhang onto Mr Collins’s property by at least four metres and he said the family could not enjoy their yard because of falling cones and branches.

But the McNeil family, who have lived with the tree since the late 70s, does not think it is dangerous and Mr McNeil said his children had played under it without injury.

Mrs Vivienne McNeil said the tree had been a significant factor in the purchase of their property and it added to its amenity.

The tribunal heard the tree’s root ball had damaged the boundary fence and a concrete slab in Mr Collins’ yard, but Mr McNeil disputed it.

An engineer recommended that the tree, with its root ball, be removed to prevent further damage and tribunal member Keta Roseby accepted the engineer’s damage report.

Mr Collins also complained that the tree cast a significant shadow on his garage roof, where he wanted to install a solar system.

Ms Roseby concluded that the tree created substantial, ongoing and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of Mr Collins’s property.

Ms Roseby said the tree issues could not be resolved without its removal.