Tree ‘car­nage’ an epi­demic

North Shore Times - - FRONT PAGE - LAINE MOGER

Tree ‘‘car­nage’’ is be­com­ing an epi­demic in Auck­land and ci­ti­zens need to be more vig­i­lant in re­port­ing il­le­gal trim­ming, an en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist says.

Most re­cently, a grove of pro­tected po¯hutukawa trees, planted as a World War II memo­rial, was il­le­gally trimmed with no one held to ac­count.

The Av­enue of Re­mem­brance, is a 460 me­tre-long av­enue of po¯hutukawa trees, planted in mem­ory of soldiers from the Cam­bells Bay area who left for World War II. The av­enue is lo­cated at the Rae Rd en­trance to Cen­ten­nial Park in Camp­bells Bay.

Cen­ten­nial Park Bush So­ci­ety chair­man Dr Richard Hurst­house said at least two po¯hutukawa trees have been ‘‘se­ri­ously dam­aged’’ but pros­e­cu­tion is unlikely with­out more ev­i­dence.

A chain­saw was heard by one of his fel­low so­ci­ety mem­bers on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 20. At the time, the mem­ber did not re­alise they were trim­ming more than just the trees around their own drive­way, Hurst­house said.

‘‘We re­ally need to nail these pros­e­cu­tions, be­cause that's the only thing that's go­ing to make a dif­fer­ence.’’

Dr Richard Hurst­house

Auck­land Coun­cil wasn’t no­ti­fied of the work and there is ‘‘no way’’ the coun­cil would have given con­sent for what was done, he said.

‘‘I ask, if any­one has any knowl­edge of who the con­trac­tor was, to contact the Auck­land Coun­cil com­pli­ance team.’’

There has been a string of sim­i­lar na­tive-tree van­dalisms, fol­low­ing the Auck­land Uni­tary Plan, which changed tree-pro­tec­tion laws.

‘‘None of the cases I know of have been pros­e­cuted,’’ Hurst­house said. ‘‘We don’t know who or­dered the trim­ming, or who did the work.’’

Pre­vi­ously, Auck­land Coun­cil had a blan­ket tree con­trols un­der the Dis­trict Plan. Now trees need to be in­di­vid­u­ally iden­ti­fied to be sched­uled. Sched­uled trees and trees in Spe­cial Eco­log­i­cal Ar­eas have more pro­tec­tion, whether on pri­vate or pub­lic land.

In Au­gust, a con­cerned neigh­bour stopped the ex­ten­sive trim­ming of a huge po¯ hutukawa tree, in Syl­van Ave near Tuff Crater, a spe­cial eco­log­i­cal area.

In September, sev­eral po¯hutukawa trees were felled, al­legedly on a strip of coastal land on Stan­ley Point Rd, in Devon­port. Auck­land Coun­cil con­firms it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

SUP­PLIED

Clockwise from top left, Count­down’s trees trimmed to stumps, Tuff Crater’s near miss in Syl­van Ave, Camp­bells Bay’s pruned trees, Stan­ley Point Rd’s felled trees lying be­low the cliff.

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