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.

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