Residents angry about tree-felling

Waikouaiti resident Dylan Neill is unhappy after contractors cut down trees in an area different from that identified to community members as where the felling would occur. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Waikouaiti resident Dylan Neill is unhappy after contractors cut down trees in an area different from that identified to community members as where the felling would occur. Photo by Craig Baxter.
An angry Waikouaiti local says residents were lied to about a plan to cut down trees next to the community's beach.

Dylan Neill and Liz Evans, of Waikouaiti, said Dunedin City Council contractors started by cutting down trees south of an area which they had been told about by Waikouaiti Coast Community Board.

This comes after the council and community board agreed to several changes to its initial plan after community members objected to a plan to fell the trees in two stages over concerns it it would leave people battered by wind and sand.

Ms Evans said the decision to cut down trees outside the area the community members were told would be felled had destroyed any goodwill brought about by the board consulting with locals.

''They are just lying to us left, right and centre. It's not good enough,'' she said.

The community was told trees would be cut down in the southern section of the main stretch of forest, but they had started by cutting down an outlying section.

Mr Neill said the area where they were felling trees was a salt marsh, which was a ''really rare piece of real estate environmentally''.

He feared the fact contractors built roads to the site would attract vehicle users who would ''tear'' it up.

''Plus, the public doesn't really access that area. It's not really a safety issue; if the trees fall down, the trees fall down,'' he said.

Community board chairman Gerard Collings said the focus of consultation was on ''the main plantation, the outlying areas have always been ancillary to the main felling programme''.

''The reason why the northern outlying areas are being felled this year, is to allow staff to assess the regeneration of [plants] before the balance of the outlying areas are felled,'' he said.

He accepted this could have been better communicated to residents, but said there was no attempt to mislead people.

-vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Tucker Consulting LtdDunedinConsultants
Power Options N.Z. LtdDunedinElectricians
Otago LivestockDunedin
BabycityInvercargillBaby & Nursery