View-blocking trees get chop
Despite public opposition, the Queenstown council has agreed to remove two 20-metre poplar trees blocking a homeowner’s view.
The owner of 68 Panorama Tce, Kenneth Butt, who lives overseas, will pay thousands of dollars for their removal.
Some neighbours wanted the trees to stay, but Queenstown Lakes District Council Community and Services members voted three to two in favour of the trees’ removal.
Butt submitted a request to the council for the trees’ removal in 2016.
At Thursday’s meeting, approval was granted – subject to Butt paying, replanting a tree in their place and maintaining the new tree.
Community and Services meeting chairman Scott Stevens said Butt asked for the trees to be removed because they impeded his view, but said the council ‘‘would not chop down trees to improve someone’s view’’.
The council found it was unlikely it planted the poplars, on the corner of Panorama Tce and Maxwell Pl. Their roots affected a retaining wall supporting the road. Nearby residents were consulted.
Kelvin Heights resident Kirsty Sharpe opposed the trees’ removal.
If the council voted to remove them it would set a ‘‘dangerous precedent’’. Others might try to do the same to improve their view, Sharpe told the committee.
It would be contrary to council policy, Sharpe said.
Two other objections, from Maxwell Pl residents Arie and Els Kleinjan, said the request was to ‘‘de-block the views’’, which contravened the District Tree Policy.
Arboricultural officer Tim Errington said the 40 to 50-yearold poplars were ‘‘vigorousgrowing trees’’ and would likely need to be removed within 10 years anyway.
Their roots would continue to affect the retaining wall. They could fall during inclement weather, he said.
He estimated it would cost about $9000 to cut the trees down, but it would likely cost Butt more as the stumps would need to be removed or continually poisoned to stop them re-shooting. A new tree would need to be planted.
Errington said removal was a ‘‘win-win’’ for the council.
‘‘The wrong tree’s in the wrong place and somebody else is going to pay for their removal.’’
Councillors Craig Ferguson and Penny Clark voted against.