Chance to go out on a limb for city trees

Getting some protection . . . Dunedin Amenities Society member Paul Pope sits under the trees at his Portobello home, including a protected 100-year-old totara. Photo by Dan Hutchinson
Getting some protection . . . Dunedin Amenities Society member Paul Pope sits under the trees at his Portobello home, including a protected 100-year-old totara. Photo by Dan Hutchinson
Dunedin people are being given a chance to save their favourite trees from destruction as part of a review of the significant trees list by the Dunedin City Council.

Council city development manager Anna Johnson said people could nominate trees they felt were ''particularly magnificent, of historic significance, great stature or scientifically valuable''.

The council's arborist would then assess all of the trees nominated to decide if they would join the 1200 individual and 100 groups of trees already listed in ''Schedule 25.3: Significant Trees'' of the Dunedin City District Plan.

''Dunedin is a city that takes pride in its amazing landscapes and environment.

''Trees in the urban environment are part of Dunedin's charm, whether these are large natives, which support bellbirds and tui, or exotics planted by early settlers,'' Ms Johnson said.

Property-owners can request a reassessment if they believe the status of a tree or stand of trees has changed notably since it was included on the Schedule.

New Zealand's oldest tree protection society, the Dunedin Amenities Society will be asking for a system of advocacy for property-owners.

Society member Paul Pope said when it came to trees ''one man's treasure is another person's problem''.

Landowners often wanted to cut their trees down because they shaded the house, the leaves blew into the gutters or for a host of other reasons.

However, many trees could be significantly improved with the input of an arborist who could prune and thin a tree to improve the situation.

He said the significant trees list was an important ''snapshot'' but not a definitive view of tree resources in the city.

''The society believes that a greater advocacy role for the protection of trees should be taken by the city council.

''That may mean a less regulatory approach and a more collaborative one that encourages and educates landowners about the value and maintenance of trees in the community and on their properties,'' Mr Pope said.

He said there were situations where it was a case of ''wrong tree in the wrong place'' and there needed to be an option to deal with it.

Tree nomination forms are available from the council (477-4000) or at www.dunedin.govt.nz.

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