Deadly trees pose risk to public


Watch out in the Wakatipu – tree danger is everywhere. 

Despite Arrowtowner Russell Liggett being killed by a falling poplar on Lower Shotover Road last September, Queenstown Lakes District Council is pleading poverty in stalling work on more than 140 unsafe trees on public roads, reserves and trails in the Wakatipu. 

A report by council parks boss Gordon Bailey identifies nine sites where dangerous trees have been identified – five of the sites are tagged urgent. 

Among urgent concerns are huge pines at Queenstown’s One Mile, poplars at St Omer Park and 19 Speargrass Flat poplars endangering vehicles, horse riders and pedestrians. 

So why the delay in felling the trees or lopping dead limbs? 

QLDC blew its tree budget back in March and must now wait until next month to start drawing down its new financial year allocation of $428,000, Bailey says. 

The council’s also discovered it has more street trees on its books than it knew about – 3000 more, taking the 
total to 8000-plus. Contractor Asplundh will charge another $82,346 to maintain these extra trees.

Tree towers over preschool

A poplar looming large over Arrowtown Preschool has been slated for felling after its removal was requested – but QLDC couldn’t find the $6750 funding this financial year.

Urgent: death row

One tree in this picturesque line of protected poplars (below) at Queenstown’s St Omer Park will be given the chop urgently “to maintain safety to the public”. Another 22 of the trees require deadwood work.

Urgent: timber-r-r!

Two giant pines above One Mile are “in severe decline” and must be felled urgently for fear of them falling on Sunshine Bay track walkers or the adjoining sewerage pump station. 

Urgent: chainsaw massacre

No less than 19 of these protected poplars (right) on Speargrass Flat Road have been pronounced as endangering the public – they’ll be felled at a cost of $35,000 when QLDC is in funds again. Another 42 of the poplars will be deadwooded.

People, cars at risk

Fifteen of 42 Lower Shotover Rd poplars (left) “lean heavily over the road” and if dead wood were to break off, would cause serious damage to persons or cars, Bailey says. Removing all 42 poplars will cost $17,500.