Sunday, February 10, 2013

Official vandalism

There's a story in our local paper on a subject I've long complained about, the unprofessional way the electricity companies cut trees to keep them away from overhead power lines.

I took this photo as an example, just on the edge of our town centre:

The entire centre of each tree has just been hacked out, leaving them so ugly it would be far better to remove the trees completely.

The Express Advocate story covers three areas on the Central Coast, with residents saying trees were 'just hacked into' and that some trees were left so lopsided they had been made unstable.

The problem is the usual Australian one - companies use contractors rather than hiring their own labour force. With contractors using sub-contractors you rarely know who will end up actually doing the work.

The power company involved in this instance, Ausgrid, turned to the universal corporate cliche manual: 'the company requires its tree trimming workers to operate under strict guidelines which balance the need for a safe and reliable electricity network with the amenity of the neighbourhood'.

Inevitably, from corporate cliche standards through the management of the contractors/sub-contractors and down the long line to the guy with the chainsaw, things are dramatically different.

One couple were particularly annoyed that branches from a rare Chinese tree in their front yard had been lopped, including, they said, branches which were nowhere near the power lines.

Ausgrid investigated the complaints. "Our qualified arborists immediately inspected the tree trimming work and found the tree...did not meet our high standards. We have apologised to the resident and will re-inspect the tree in coming months to make sure it is healthy."

Meaningless isn't it.  The damage has been done. And if the tree isn't healthy over coming months?

Now, if the power lines were where they should be, underground...but that's another story.

Express Advocate

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