Letter to the Editor | Non-pruning of trees can be a matter of life or death. Who cares in Macau?

Dear Editor,

We have had in Macau incidents of trees and branches falling with resultant fatalities. The same in Hong Kong because, as we know, trees have to be pruned regularly and they can and do suffer from rot and diseases that make them unsafe. There were two cases not long ago, one of which involved a pregnant woman in Hong Kong. The tree fell on her, she was killed instantly but her baby was miraculously safely delivered in the eighth month of pregnancy.

Over a timespan of three, now entering four years, I have attempted to get IACM to send a cherrypicker with a tree expert to the grounds of Hellene Gardens, specifically in the LOT 4 area, where there are trees which have never been pruned from the top. Yes that is right, and it spans a period of ten years, never pruned! Dangerous? Oh yes!

IACM have consistently informed they cannot assist because Hellene Gardens is a private estate and their brief is to only handle trees in non private locations – i.e. public areas. I have no means of identifying whether this is the case or not and having visited their offices on numerous occasions and dispatched numerous emails, stressing the point of the danger and the fact that there are few landscape contractors in Macau, I met a dead end/a brick wall. Their answer has always been negative to the point of callousness.

Why did I go there? For the very fact that IACM have experienced tree doctor/s on their staff and they have the equipment to handle it. How was I treated? Badly. Not one member of staff at the outset of this journey, which needs to be chronicled and brought into the public domain, would agree to meet with me. Not one, over a period of more than three years. Do they know anything about civic duty towards the citizens of Macau and the fact, as was explained via emails, trees can kill and yes, there was a serious situation, otherwise why would I be there?

The bottom line: “we don’t want to know and we don’t handle this.” Helpful? No. Any suggestions as to where one could go to remedy the situation? No. Is this the attitude of a professional government department? I repeatedly emailed and received the same answer. Never any invitation to go meet with someone within IACM who could give advice. Nothing. So I was left with no doubt whatsoever after more than three years that IACM are not able to resolve what has now become a more than urgent requirement and their sheer lack of customer service is seriously wanting.

I then moved onto the property management company whose sole job it appears is making sure they take your money but deliver no service. This covers the same timeframe of three years. Emails requesting they activate numerous requests have met with silence and total non-action including from the manager. Eventually I was able to locate, quite by accident, one landscaping company but they have to this day, failed to communicate with them and it is now quite clear they have no intention of doing so. A professional property management company would have got onto this case as it is obvious to any reader there represents a clear and present danger to those who live nearby.

Maids with young children, residents, visitors walk daily under the trees. Babies in strollers pushed by either maids or parents. It is no longer a question of if but when someone is either killed or sustains serious injury. One tree is leaning against a support wall leading to an underground carpark which could collapse at any given moment.

This letter is sent in the earnest hope that readers can shed some light on what can be done because after three years of trying, I have regretfully met a brick wall of non-action, ignorance and plain lack of civic duty towards residents/their families.

What will it take – a fatality? To bring home the message to both the property management company and also the administration committee of Lot 4 –neither wish to be involved. Not only does this represent dereliction of duty but it goes farther insofar as no one has any regard for anyone else’s life – shame on those who are supposed to be in responsible positions and fail to act. These are not the actions of accountability or responsibility and this very fact needs to be made public before someone loses their life. A solution must be sought and quickly.

I appear to have exhausted every means possible to get some action.


A deeply concerned owner – Lot 4, Hellene Gardens

Categories Macau Opinion