Eu­ca­lyp­tus trees on chop­ping block

North Shore Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - KASHKA TUNSTALL

A Chel­tenham man is fight­ing Auck­land Coun­cil for the right to cut down two eu­ca­lyp­tus trees whose fall­ing limbs have smashed win­dows on his car.

John Gibb has been com­mu­ni­cat­ing with coun­cil for two years, seek­ing per­mis­sion to re­move the non-na­tive trees on the berm in front of his Chel­tenham prop­erty, which he be­lieves are a safety haz­ard to the com­mu­nity.

He and wife Eleanor moved into their prop­erty on Ox­ford Ter­race in 2015, dis­cov­er­ing quickly that dead limbs fall­ing and de­bris from the trees were an is­sue.

‘‘When we bought the prop­erty we didn’t ap­pre­ci­ate what a prob­lem they’d be,’’ Gibb said.

The trees, which are still ma­tur­ing, mea­sure 18.5 me­tres and 20m. They have caused dam­age to the cou­ple’s prop­erty, in­clud­ing two ve­hi­cles.

The rear win­dow of one car smashed from fall­ing de­bris, while the other sus­tained a dent in the roof.

Gibb wor­ried that lo­cals walk­ing on the foot­paths un­der the trees were at risk of in­jury from fall­ing limbs.

He was also con­cerned about the Vec­tor power lines near the branches and called the com­pany to check if they were a risk. It de­ter­mined they were.

But Eleanor Gibb said con­cerns had fallen on deaf ears.

Re­mov­ing a tree of more than 4m in height is a re­stricted dis­cre­tionary ac­tiv­ity, re­quir­ing ap­proval by coun­cil.

Gibb’s pre­vi­ous ap­pli­ca­tions have been de­nied, with coun­cil be­liev­ing the trees were healthy and a low risk.

That has led Gibb to seek re­source con­sent to get rid of the trees.

‘‘The coun­cil have taken a po­si­tion and they haven’t lis­tened to ar­gu­ments against that,’’ he said.

‘‘They have no in­ter­est in peo­ple or prop­erty, only the trees.

‘‘They just say they’re healthy trees and there’s no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion in their view. That, of course, is not our view.’’

The pen­sioner said he had paid a ‘‘con­sid­er­able amount’’ to have the trees as­sessed in or­der to make his ap­pli­ca­tion.

He has also of­fered to pay for the re­moval of the trees, and to cover the cost of re­plant­ing a na­tive species like re­warewa in their place.

His re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion has been pub­licly no­ti­fied, with sub­mis­sions open un­til Friday, Oc­to­ber 20.

KASHKA TUNSTALL

The two eu­ca­lyp­tus trees on Ox­ford Ter­race are a non-na­tive species, which John Gibb feels is out of char­ac­ter for his street.

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