Tree ‘carnage’ an epidemic
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.
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.