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..

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