Waikouaiti residents fear a proposal by the Dunedin City
Council to fell a pine plantation next to the town's beach
will leave them vulnerable to coastal erosion and being
battered by wind and sand.
These were just some of the concerns expressed at a meeting
in Waikouaiti this week where the council discussed its
proposal to remove the pine plantation next to Waikouaiti
Beach in two stages beginning in January and finishing in
About two-thirds of the 85 people at the meeting, held in the
East Otago Events Centre, raised their hands in support when
a member of the audience asked who opposed the removal of the
beach frontage pine trees.
The council's proposal was to fell the trees and use the
money from selling the logs to fund the planting of native
trees. Any money left over would be used in the area.
Waikouaiti residents Dylan Neill and Liz Evans, who were at
the meeting and live next to the plantation, were concerned
about the threat of erosion and said there had been a lack of
consultation on the plan.
Mr Neill said the trees prevented the sand dunes "invading"
"People are really worried that if we undermine the banks at
all that it will just wash away."
The trees acted as a windbreak and felling them would leave
residents vulnerable to wind.
The council was unable to allay residents' fears at the
meeting, he said.
"We are really getting the impression that they have decided
what they are going to do and they are just letting us know
Ms Evans, who runs the local dog kennels, Animotels, said the
trees blocked sand from blasting the dogs she kept on her
property and their removal would "definitely" affect her
Only the most dangerous trees should be removed, she said.
Waikouaiti Coast Community Board chairman Gerard Collings
said the board and the council took the concerns of the
"I have given my personal undertaking ... that no work will
commence on site until such time as the issues and matters
raised have been considered," he said.
That included evaluating other options such as doing nothing
or felling the trees in a more staggered manner.
It was decided to fell the trees because they had passed
their economic maturity and were beginning to pose a safety
risk because of their age, he said.
Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said the council had taken
notice the of the community's concerns and that there was "no
hurry" to begin felling.
"We are going to go away and try and come up with a couple
more options and then we will be looking at going back to the
community with those options," she said.