Reprieve for trees
The trees along Waipukurau’s main street have had a decent trim and won a temporary reprieve, but still appear destined for the chop.
Last week contractors carried out maintenance work on the trees lining Ruataniwha St, which the CHB District Council announced last year it intended to remove.
Council said retailers last year raised a number of concerns about the trees, including that they were blocking signage and dropping leaves that were blocking gutters and drains, which had contributed to flooding. The roots of the trees were also damaging footpaths by buckling pavers along the street.
Council then held an informal consultation meeting to canvass Ruataniwha St retailers and property owners about what they wanted to see replace the trees — a move which prompted many angry letters to this newspaper objecting to any plan to cut them down.
Voni Anderson from Waipukurau complained the council was being short-sighted and the trees provided a long-term value to the town centre, while Carl and Glenys Petersen wrote that any plan to chop them down was “totally unacceptable”.
“Do we really want the main street to look like a desert, with no shade afforded on a blisteringly hot Central Hawke’s Bay day — to say nothing of the aesthetic value?” they asked.
Announcing the maintenance work last week, council said another survey among retailers earlier this year confirmed the majority of them would like to see the trees removed and replaced.
During the survey, retailers also suggested a number of initiatives and concepts to reinvigorate Waipukurau’s town centre, council said.
“Taking into account the new ideas and initiatives proposed, council has deferred any decision on the removal of the trees until the completion of the Community and Town Centre Planning programme, confirmed as part of council’s 2018 Long Term Plan.”
But Waipukurau local Owen Spotswood was unhappy when he came across the maintenance work last week, as he believed most people wanted the trees gone — not simply pared back.
“What a waste of ratepayers’ money. Look at the mess the leaves make,” said Mr Spotswood. He suggested that hanging flower baskets like those in Waipawa could make for an aesthetically pleasing replacement.
CHB district councillor and Ruataniwha St retailer Gerard Minehan said the maintenance work was a good first step, but he and others wanted the trees gone.
“A lot of people are very happy — it’s a good start until council starts consulting on the development of the town plans, that’s the next step. But yes, the majority of retailers want them gone and replaced with another [species] that doesn’t drop so many leaves . . . and wreck the pavements and cost us thousands of dollars,” he said.
TRIMMED: One of the trees along Ruataniwha St..