Native trees felled in Onetangi reserve
The felling of about 12 mature native trees in an Onetangi reserve has raised the ire of resident Ross Gillespie. ‘‘It’s a scene of devastation. ‘‘The whole reserve has been neglected for so long it’s abysmal,’’ he said.
Gillespie, who is the founder of Walkways on Waiheke, has discovered several areas where trees have been axed in Tin Boat Reserve over the past two weeks.
Mature kanuka, mahoe and kohekohe trees have been chopped down, while massive pohutukawa trees have had branches chopped off, he said.
Several native trees have been sawn part-way through but remain standing.
‘‘A pocket of significant native trees well inside the reserve has been chainsawed in the roughest manner.
‘‘This type of vandalism is what happens when public access is denied,’’ Gillespie said.
He has been calling for more tracks to be created in the reserve for more than 10 years, but said Auckland Council officers have ignored his requests for better public access.
‘‘Other reserves and accessways across the island are similarly lost or neglected and need clear demarcation and a public presence,’’ he said.
Gillespie has marked an informal pathway at Tin Boat Reserve with a sign and white ribbons around trees.
Building materials and a dismantled car body have also been dumped on the reserve.
Council manager regulatory compliance Steve Pearce said the council was not aware of any native trees being felled at the reserve, but is now investigating.
The council is aware of dumping on the reserve.
‘‘A neighbour has already removed a structure off the reserve following enforcement action.
‘‘We will discuss the further removal of the scrapped car and poles and consider if enforcement action is appropriate,’’ Pearce said.
Native trees more than three metres high are generally protected on Waiheke. Resource consent is needed before pruning with tools apart from handheld secateurs or shears. Council consent is also needed when working beneath the dripline of protected native trees.
People who see illegal tree works or want information on tree cutting can phone the council on (09) 301 0101.