'We told you so': Park residents warned of dangerous trees

Dicky Beach Storm damage
Dicky Beach Storm damage Warren Lynam

ANGRY Dicky Beach Caravan Park permanent residents are furious the Sunshine Coast Council ignored continuous requests for trees to be removed at the site.

Harry Houston, 85, said it was "a miracle we didn't get wiped out" in Sunday evening's freak weather event, which saw trees collapse on vans causing significant damage.

One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said the council had been approached to do something about the trees only three weeks ago.

"We have been trying and trying to get something done about it," he said.

"Officers come but they never inspect the trees, they were here three weeks ago.

"I spoke to them independently about two trees in front of my place and asked them to be trimmed, but they didn't do anything."

The trees fell on his van on Sunday night.

Mr Houston said only four years ago, a tree caused extensive damage to his van and he had to pay for the repairs.


Dicky Beach Storm damage.Harry Houston is concerned about overhanging trees.
Dicky Beach Storm damage.Harry Houston is concerned about overhanging trees. Warren Lynam

"The last time I had a tree fall, it wiped out the top of my kitchen.

"The council said 'you are insured, you look after it'.

"I had to pay for it out of my insurance and pay the premium."

The residents have formed an action group in the hopes the council will take their requests more seriously.

They pay $153 each, plus electricity, to rent a small space for their vans at the park.

A council spokesman said a qualified arborist conducted holiday park site visits "every six months, including just prior to storm season".

The arborist had been at Dicky Beach "last month" and "due to the maintenance carried out, it is likely more significant damage was averted on Sunday evening".

The council said it was an "unusually powerful supercell storm".

"Trees came down on three vans occupied by permanent residents, with one van sustaining minor damage."

When it came to repairs caused by the fallen trees or branches, the spokesman said the council "refers the owner of the property to their insurance company for assessment and advice". 

Mr Houston described the horrifying "10 minutes" the wild weather swept through.

"It came so quickly and so heavy," he said.

"One minute I was sitting on the patio with a glass of ale and then there was a few drops of rain and a gust so we decided to go inside.

"By the time we got inside it was blowing 150 miles an hour.

"It came through like a front. I looked out the kitchen window and I couldn't see anything but a white curtain coming for us.

"I couldn't even see the van in front of us.

"We ducked for cover, but we could hear the branches coming down.

"I've never experienced anything like it and I have been through floods and bushfires.

"This was so horrendous. You can't describe the noise.

"It was as if a freight train was going through the lounge room."

All Mr Houston could do was huddle in his van and "hope the structure was sound enough".

Thankfully Mr Houston's van only sustained minor damage, but the van next to him had trees on top of it, stopping the lady resident from being able to escape.

As soon as the storm had passed all the residents went out to help each other.

Topics:  arborist sunshine coast council wild weather

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