Gi­ant ‘widow mak­ers’ to be felled

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Fam­i­lies will no longer have to fear the gi­ant ‘‘widow mak­ers’’ threat­en­ing their quiet street.

Three gum trees on Wan­ganui Ave in Herne Bay will be brought down un­der ur­gency next week af­ter con­cerns the next one to fall could se­ri­ously in­jure some­one.

Two trees came crash­ing down in the street dur­ing a storm last month.

Res­i­dent Ge­off God­den says the trees have been a con­cern for years.

‘‘They’re called widow mak­ers for a rea­son – these things kill people.

‘‘The next time one of them falls down it could fall on a house and se­ri­ously in­jure some­one or worse, kill some­one.’’

The trees have dropped branches in the past but res­i­dents were shaken when they found cars flat­tened and their street blocked.

God­den is ‘‘ over the moon’’ that they will be re­moved. ‘‘Hope­fully the rest will fol­low suit within the next month,’’ he says.

Auck­land Coun­cil and Auck­land Trans­port have been work­ing to­gether to as­sess the con­di­tion of the trees.

Cen­tral

lo­cal and sports parks man­ager Jane Aickin says the eu­ca­lyp­tus nicholii trees, com­monly known as pep­per­mint or black pep­per­mint gum trees, are about 30 to 40 years old and are near­ing the end of their life in an ur­ban set­ting.

The three trees show suf­fi­cient struc­tural prob­lems to war­rant the emer­gency works, she says.

‘‘The re­main­ing eight trees will be dealt with once a re­source con­sent de­ci­sion has been made,’’ she says.

Jac­qui Mil­lar be­gan col­lect­ing res­i­dents’ sig­na­tures af­ter the storm in sup­port of their re­moval.

She has spo­ken to more than 50 house­holds and the con­sen­sus is the old gums should go.

‘‘It’s a fan­tas­tic re­sult from our per­spec­tive, en­sur­ing the safety of res­i­dents.’’

Mil­lar will con­tinue to gather sup­port to en­sure re­source con­sent is granted to re­move the re­main­ing trees as well, she says.

Res­i­dents hope to be con­sulted about what might be planted in place of the old trees.

The coun­cil will also as­sess trees on neigh­bour­ing Kel­marna Ave and Parawai Cres.

The coun­cil re­ceived more than 900 re­quests for ser­vice re­gard­ing tree is­sues on June 11, the day af­ter the storm.

‘‘Con­trac­tors are still work­ing through this con­sid­er­able list, clear­ing the fallen trees that are caus­ing safety con­cerns or block­ing ac­cess first,’’ Aickin says.

Safety con­cerns: Wan­ganui Ave res­i­dent Ge­off God­den and his son Sam.

Pho­tos: JESS LEE

Crunch time: A car on Wan­ganui Ave which was flat­tened by a gum tree which came crash­ing down in the June 10 storm.

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