Tree removal under scrutiny



A Queenstown councillor’s asking to be kept in the loop about trees destined for the chop amidst unprecedented capital works projects in and around the CBD.

Penny Clark says she can’t recall ever being told about the five eucalyptus trees on Brecon Street — which City Hall wants to lop to make way for a four-metre-wide shared path — despite assurances she was.

Clark says it seems she missed the workshop where it was discussed ‘‘three or four years ago’’.







While the community and services committee has delegated authority, which Clark isn’t on, she believes the Brecon St trees decision went to full council — and she doesn’t recall being at that meeting, either.

‘‘Because, if I was aware, not only about those trees coming down, but trees in general across the district coming down, I can’t believe I would have ignored it — it’s just not my style.’’

The felling of the Brecon St trees is on hold, for now, while an ecological assessment’s carried out.

That’ll determine if there are any native birds nesting in them — if there are, the council will need to get a permit from Department of Conservation under the Wildlife Act to chop them down.

Clark questions why, if the council knew this was the plan several years ago, it’s waited ‘‘till the eleventh hour’’ to get ecological reports.

‘‘It would appear that our process is not particularly robust.’’

In a statement, City Hall’s media man Sam White says councillors were briefed about the Brecon St trees on Tuesday afternoon.

‘‘We are awaiting the final ecological assessment and will be updating the public accordingly.’’

Clark doesn’t appear optimistic those trees will be saved, but she says she’s asking for more information about other trees destined to meet chainsaws to make way for roads and footpaths.

‘‘There are some questions to ask.’’

Felling of listed oak justified

Removed: The Lakeview oak tree felled last year

A mature English oak tree in the former Queenstown campground, listed on the New Zealand Tree Register, was felled last year as part of the Lakeview development.

However, resort arborist Jimmy Carling, who last week started a petition opposing Queenstown council’s plan to remove five eucalyptus trees in nearby Brecon Street, tells
Mountain Scene he removed the tree himself, and is confident it was the right decision in the circumstances.

The 25-metre tree, of unknown age, appears on a register maintained by the NZ Notable Trees Trust.

Council media man Sam White says other established trees at Lakeview, including protected trees, remain and have been incorporated into the development’s design.

There’ll also be ‘‘significant new planting’’ of native trees and shrubs in the area.

Carling says the tree had a large wound near its base, making it structurally suspect.

It was also showing signs of stress.

Moving a planned road away from the tree would’ve meant removing other valuable,  healthy trees, he says.