Council looking at options for trees

The DCC will talk with the community board about the pines at Waikouaiti Beach. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The DCC will talk with the community board about the pines at Waikouaiti Beach. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The Dunedin City Council says it will go back to the Waikouaiti community next year to discuss what should be done with a pine plantation next to the town's beach, after locals expressed opposition to a plan to fell the trees.

This comes as the council received tenders last week showing it was financially viable to use the money from felling the trees to plant natives in their place.

At a meeting last month to discuss a plan to fell the trees, residents expressed concern that it would leave them vulnerable to coastal erosion and being battered by wind and sand. Many were also concerned about the lack of consultation on the plan.

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. Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said the council had received tenders for felling the 28ha of trees last week that showed removing the trees and replacing them with natives would be ''self-funding''.

If the trees were replaced with non-native trees, there would probably be money left over to spend in the local community, Ms Wheeler said.

Instead of going ahead with felling in January, as it had originally planned, the council would now look at the various options for the ageing pine plantation before taking them back to the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board early next year, she said.

Options included leaving the pine trees alone, chopping down the trees in two stages, and leaving a buffer row of pine trees to protect the dunes from erosion.

Letting the trees fall over on their own would, however, present health and safety issues, she said.

Waikouaiti resident Liz Evans, who runs the local dog kennels, Animotels, said the council's decision to discuss the options with the community board did not make up for the previous lack of consultation.

''It was absolutely disgusting. Most people found out about ... [last month's] meeting because I was a loudmouth,'' Ms Evans said.

She would reserve judgement on the council's plans until it met the community board next year.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

 

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