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Working bee: About 200 residents cleared scrubs and planted trees on Arrowtown's Feehly Hill about five years ago, now Naylor Love's sending staff to lend a hand

By GUY WILLIAMS

Wakatipu Reforestation Trust’s getting some much-needed manpower to control weeds on Arrowtown’s Feehly Hill.

The Queenstown branch of construction company Naylor Love is sending staff to work on the hill, where the trust’s been planting natives since 2015, on February 18 and 25.

Naylor Love project manager Hayley Stockdale says four volunteers from its Sudima hotel project team and another four from its O’Connells redevelopment team will carry out the work, and it’s planning to do more volunteer days for the trust later in the year.

Stockdale says it’s had a sustainability committee for the past 12 months that’s been working on a series of ‘‘green initiatives’’, including cutting diesel and petrol vehicles from its leased fleet, and working with Queenstown’s council on diverting more waste from its construction sites.

‘‘It’s a slow process, but we’re trying to pave the way in Queenstown.’’

It wants to work with other organisations on similar projects, and she’s keen to hear from anyone with good ideas.

Trust operations manager Karen O’Donahoo says Naylor Love’s offer will ‘‘take a huge burden off our maintenance team’’.

‘Huge burden lifted’:
Wakatipu Reforestation Trust’s ops manager Karen O’Donahoo

Because it’s particularly dry, the Feehly Hill site is the most time-consuming of all its sites to keep down weeds, O’Donahoo says.

It takes longer for the plants to grow and ‘‘hold hands’’, thereby suppressing weeds, and its regular volunteers are struggling to keep up.

‘‘Planting is really the easy part of reforestation activities, maintenance is the key piece of the puzzle.

‘‘We’ve learnt over time that our native plants require maintenance for five to eight years after planting, to enable them to become large enough to out-compete invasive weed species.’’

Any resort businesses interested in helping the trust with weed control would be welcomed with open arms, she says.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz