How to buy your first home1:21
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A West Australian family — forced to do “20-point turns” out of their driveway due to a ridiculously placed tree — have been told by the local council they’ll have to learn to live with it.
Natalie Quadrio and her family bought the Coodanup home, an hour south of Perth, two years ago. The family was hesitant about the large tree growing right in the middle of the driveway but believed its location — directly behind the mailbox — was part of their property.
But when the Quadrios started the process with The City of Mandurah, the local council informed them the tree was part of council land and they wouldn’t be able to remove it.
Ms Quadrio said the tree has created a raft of problems for the family in the past two years and as its root system grows, things are only going to get worse.
Family members aren’t able to park their cars on the driveway because sap that drops from the tree damages their vehicle which means every time they pull the cars out of the garage, the driver is forced to manoeuvre out of the space.
The tree also drops debris onto the solar hot water system and into the home’s gutters.
“You can put two cars in there but you have to pull one out first and then you have to do a 20-point turn to get it in and out.
“And hubby for the whole two years has had to empty the gutters every two weeks because it’s a fire hazard. We’re in a fire zone.”
Ms Quadrio said she understood it was easy to be flippant about their decision to buy the house with the tree already in the driveway — but it wasn’t that simple.
“People are saying you shouldn’t have bought the house if you didn’t like the tree out the front but we honestly did think it was in our boundary,” she said.
“I would be quite happy if they removed it and put another tree exactly the same, further down on the verge.”
In a statement, CEO of The City of Mandurah Mark Newman said “it is important residents considered existing infrastructure, including trees, when buying and building homes”.
The local council also only removes verge trees when “absolutely necessary” or if they are dead or diseased.
“Residents can request a tree inspection or maintenance should they have concerns but as a general rule pruning only occurs every one to five years,” the council said.
Ms Quadrio said she did exactly that but was again slapped down by the council.
“I rang and asked them could they come and prune it or can we remove it and about two weeks later I got a letter back saying sap, leaves, pollen, branches that fall are not their issue,” she said.
“I’ve been here two years and I’ve never ever seen them tree lop or maintain these trees.
“I like trees, the reason we picked this area, it’s a lovely area and it is all tree lined but there’s no maintenance.”
Ms Quadrio said the family were now anxiously watching the tree’s root system, which had already started to lift up the driveway.
“There is movement in the pavement already so the next issue will be for us if it starts ripping up pavers more or if it’s going to get under our house, then what damages and costs are we up for,” she said.
Today Tonight spoke with the previous owners of the WA home, who said they had specifically built the driveway around the tree because they too were told by the council they weren’t allowed to touch the tree.