Why are they plant­ing wild­ing trees?

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Cen­tral Otago Dis­trict coun­cil­lors need only raise their eyes to the hills around Alexan­dra to see ev­i­dence of the per­ni­cious spread of wild­ing trees. No doubt they did so ear­lier this year when they set aside ratepayer funds to com­bat the fur­ther spread of wild­ing trees across the dis­trict’s land­scapes, which only com­pounds the same coun­cil’s crime against rea­son and com­mon sense when it re­cently per­mit­ted two plan­ta­tions of Dou­glas Fir at ex­posed al­ti­tudes on Lammermoor Sta­tion. While the con­sents were granted un­der man­age­ment con­di­tions pro­posed by the ap­pli­cant, coun­cil ap­pears to have been less than dili­gent by not seek­ing in­de­pen­dent ver­i­fi­ca­tion that those con­di­tions will be suf­fi­cient over the timescale of the plan­ta­tions. Coun­cil cul­pa­bil­ity is only com­pounded by their seem­ingly de­lib­er­ate fail­ure to recog­nise the un­nec­es­sary risk they were im­pos­ing on the Lammermoor Range, which the En­vi­ron­ment Court has as­sessed as be­ing “of na­tional im­por­tance be­cause of its vast, open tus­sock land­scapes.’’ Plan­ta­tion forestry and off­shoot wood pro­cess­ing in­dus­tries are likely to be­come sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tors to Cen­tral Otago’s econ­omy in the fu­ture so it is expected that more ap­pli­ca­tions to es­tab­lish forestry blocks will fol­low. Ques­tions re­gard­ing coun­cil­lors’ com­pe­tence and stew­ard­ship will have to wait un­til the next lo­cal body elec­tion. Mean­while, there is an ur­gent need for the coun­cil to re­in­force the dis­trict plan with a pol­icy and rules to en­sure that fu­ture plan­ta­tions are es­tab­lished only in ap­pro­pri­ate places and not at the ex­pense of the out­stand­ing land­scapes.

Graye Shat­tky co­or­di­nated the Save Cen­tral cam­paign which de­feated a gi­ant wind farm on Lammermoor Range.

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