ANGER over the removal of gum trees in Rowville last week reached boiling point with police and council officers called in as Knox Council contractors resumed slashing trees.
Citywide contractors and Rowville residents clashed as trees were felled in Keiwa Place after the program had been temporarily halted while the council again consulted residents.
Angry residents of nearby Lakeside Boulevard argued with contractors cutting down the trees last Friday and a workman threatened a Weekly photographer taking photos of the tree removals.
A resident from a nearby street said residents had parked their cars on the nature strip so the trees could not be removed.
Police and council officers were called to defuse the confrontation and the culling resumed.
Despite the anger last week, many residents support the tree cull. Deschamp Crescent resident Colin Porter said the huge trees were lifting the footpath and making the surface unsafe. "The gum trees were not the best selection in the first place."
Mr Porter has lived in the street for 21 years and saw the trees become the towering giants they were until last week. While he acknowledged the need to remove the trees, he said they had their benefits. "They were leafy and offered lots of shade, especially in the past few weeks. And they were picturesque," he said.
Neighbour Leila Durant was also pleased to see the trees removed because their long limbs blocked the family's satellite dish. When it was windy, they could not watch any television.
Brian Franken of Deschamp Crescent and Eric Lang of Keiwa Place said they were happy to farewell the gums because of the mess they caused.
"They left so much rubbish and bark everywhere, so I am looking forward to not having to clean all that up," Mr Lang said, adding that at least seven of 11 home owners in Kiewa Place agreed.
But Deschamp Crescent resident and mother-of-two Shelby was upset to see the trees felled because children played underneath them regularly. "The kids live out here, now there is no shade." She was concerned, too, by the large stumps left behind.
Organisers of the Save the Knox Trees campaign accept that certain gum trees will be removed, but object to the choice of an ornamental pear as replacement. Protesters tied yellow ribbons around trees that were marked to be removed.
Cr John Mortimore said there many more native trees that could benefit local fauna like the flowering gum, silky oak, and flame tree. "Trees are the most valuable community asset in any urban landscape. We are losing our unique character," he said.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Does the native tree felling mean Knox is at risk of losing its distinctive neighbourhood character? Post a comment on this story below.