ELATION can barely describe how Paul and Carmel Cantarella are feeling after Monash Council capitulated and said it would cut down a gum tree threatening their home.

It took three years of campaigning from the couple, though.

Last Saturday week, a branch from the council-owned gum tree, on the nature strip in front of their neighbour’s house, collapsed on the powerline attached to their home and ripped a part of their house off.

It was the second time in three years the same gum tree had caused damage to the couple’s house. In February 2009, a branch fell and left live powerlines on the road.

The last branch fall had left them using candles to light their home for 48 hours. They wheeled their fridge across the street to their mother’s house so the food wouldn’t spoil.

But their greatest concern was for the safety of their children, who often play in the street.

“We ride our skateboards and bikes up and down that street all the time,” MrCantarella said.

“The kids are always playing out the front. If someone, not just my kids, was walking past and had of been there when that tree fell, it would have killed them.

“The council couldn’t give a toss until someone gets killed.”

His wife said she held her breath every time there was a windy day and her daughters Stephanie, 16, Jaquelin, 14, and Brigette, 12, were out in yard.

“It’ll kill somebody and it’s just going to be a matter of time before somebody’s unlucky,” she said.

“I’m really, really angry the council doesn’t think lives are more important than a tree.”

In a letter to the city’s chief executive officer David Conran, MrCantarella blasted council for ignoring the pleas of locals.

“This is nothing less than gross negligence and the time has come for you and your council to stand up and take responsibility for these trees before a life is lost.”

“Once is tolerable, twice is negligence.”

Contacted by the Weekly, Monash mayor Stefanie Perri said the council had decided to cut down the offending tree.