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No lives left: The Brecon St eucalyptus trees are being removed from today

By CASS MARRETT

Queenstown arborists are outraged over council’s plans to remove eucalyptus trees on the corner of Brecon Street and Cemetery Road, and are outright refusing to do the work.

Brecon St’s part of council’s town centre upgrade project, which council confirms requires the removal of five eucalyptus trees to make way for a 4-metre shared path.

Council media man Sam White says the trees were already earmarked for removal as part of a proposed hotel development and related proposal to realign Cemetery Rd.

The removal’s supported by the affected private property owner.

But one concerned, anonymous arborist contacted Mountain Scene to say the removal is ‘‘unjustified’’ and local arborists have been approached for quotes to remove the trees but have ‘‘collectively turn ed down the job’’.

White confirms council’s been declined a quote by three Queenstown tree removalists, and they’re currently waiting for quotes from contractors outside Queenstown.

The anonymous arborist believes the trees are some of the oldest species of eucalyptus in Queenstown, should be listed as protected, and should remain for aesthetic purposes.

While White agrees the trees ‘‘add to the aesthetics of the area’’, he argues they’re non-native and aren’t used for shade or shelter.

Council’s designers explored options to keep the trees and couldn’t make any stick, White says.

‘‘Trees are an important part of every community and we absolutely understand that removing established trees can be an emotive issue.

‘‘New native species will be introduced throughout the town centre as part of this programme at greater numbers than we currently have in the area.’’

But the arborist says there are more trees around the town centre at risk of removal, including a stand along Coronation Drive, some of which the arborist says are native, and more near the Fernhill roundabout.

“This, among the sheer amount of wilding pines being removed in the district, is piss-poor management when the world is in a climate crisis,” the arborist says.

cass.marrett@scene.co.nz