AXED AND POI­SONED

Po­hutukawa and pine trees have been tar­geted re­cently in Thames-coro­man­del

Coastal News - - Front Page - By ALI­SON SMITH news@coastal­news.co.nz

Bach own­ers re­turn­ing at the start of sum­mer to find that trees have grown in their ab­sence are be­ing blamed for re­cent cases of tree van­dal­ism in the Thamescoro­man­del district.

Mayor San­dra Goudie says the van­dal­ism has put a damp­ener on the new sea­son for many com­mu­ni­ties, and the coun­cil is fight­ing back with large signs and re­plant­ing of new trees to re­place those cut or poi­soned seem­ingly to open up views.

In the Mercury Bay area the lo­cal com­mu­nity board is get­ting large signs put up in the place where the po­hutukawa were de­stroyed.

Eight po­hutukawa trees on the Ta­puta­pu­atea Spit in Whi­tianga were cut down re­cently and ap­prox­i­mately a dozen pine trees have been van­dalised at the Pauanui Es­tu­ary near Pleas­ant Point.

“These are now dy­ing and will be re­moved for safety rea­sons; how­ever we’re look­ing at re­plant­ing in the fu­ture.

“We’ve also re­placed var­i­ous trees on the har­bour front in Tairua as tree poi­son­ing con­tin­ues there,” a Thamescoro­man­del District Coun­cil me­dia state­ment says.

“The cut­ting down of the po­hutukawa trees on the Ta­puta­pu­atea Spit is a sad and sense­less act,” says Mayor San­dra Goudie.

“Our iconic, na­tive po­hutukawa trees are un­der enough stress from fac­tors such as myr­tle rust as it is, and this is an en­tirely pre­ventable in­ci­dent.”

Myr­tle rust, an air­borne fun­gal dis­ease that threat­ens the iconic po­hutukawa and other trees in its fam­ily, was de­tected on a tree out­side coun­cil of­fices in Whi­tianga and in Waitete Bay on the Coro­man­del.

Over the years there have been cases where trees that may have grown higher or de­vel­oped big­ger branches are poi­soned or van­dalised be­cause they’re block­ing a bit of some­body’s view.

Cases of tree de­struc­tion have been taken to court when enough ev­i­dence for pros­e­cu­tion has been gath­ered and in one case, in 2007, the district coun­cil was suc­cess­ful in bring­ing a $70,000 fine against a landowner who re­moved trees on a re­serve for view pur­poses.

“Our coun­cil takes this sort of van­dal­ism very se­ri­ously and we ask the com­mu­nity to be vig­i­lant and sup­port us in pre­vent­ing this sort of wil­ful dam­age to our trees,” San­dra says.

“Tell us or con­tact the po­lice di­rectly if you know any­thing about this par­tic­u­lar event or if you have any con­cerns about any­thing sim­i­lar in the fu­ture.

“We of­ten find more in­ci­dents hap­pen to­wards sum­mer, par­tic­u­larly when peo­ple come back to their bach to find trees have grown. It’s a great shame some­one would re­sort to killing our beau­ti­ful na­tive coastal trees on a pub­lic re­serve that are there for the en­joy­ment of ev­ery­body,” says San­dra.

“If you have an is­sue with a tree come into one of our of­fices and talk about it. In many cases there may be pro­fes­sional tree man­age­ment op­tions that might help. An in­di­vid­ual may ben­e­fit from this van­dal­ism, but the gen­eral ratepayer picks up the cost of tree works. That’s why coun­cil is keen in all cases of tree van­dal­ism, to re­cover costs.”

‘Our coun­cil takes this sort of van­dal­ism very se­ri­ously and we ask the com­mu­nity to be vig­i­lant and sup­port us in pre­vent­ing this sort of wil­ful dam­age to our trees.’

THAMES-CORO­MAN­DEL MAYOR SAN­DRA GOUDIE

PHOTO / THAMES-CORO­MAN­DEL DISTRICT COUN­CIL

Po­hutukawa on the Thames Coast.

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