Consent given to fell specimen tree

Pact property manager Ferdi Koen is dwarfed by a wellingtonia tree which is to be cut down. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.
Pact property manager Ferdi Koen is dwarfed by a wellingtonia tree which is to be cut down. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.
A Dunedin City Council committee has granted consent for a giant, protected specimen tree to be cut down because of the risk to the building and people underneath it.

The Wellingtonia tree in Taieri Rd in Wakari was thought to be about 125 years old and expected to live for another 900 years.

The problem is that it is growing in the courtyard of a large house where people with intellectual disabilities live.

Owner of the house - Pact - wanted the tree removed because of the moisture problems it was causing, the leaf litter and the safety of residents if a large branch was to fall off.

During a resource consent hearing in April, Pact social housing manager Ferdi Koen said he could not understand why the house was extended to surround the tree in 1992.

The committee, made up of councillors David Benson-Pope, Andrew Noone and Lee Vandervis, sought a third arborist's opinion to clarify conflicting reports on the health of the tree.

''The committee was very reluctant to grant consent for removal of the tree, given its obvious significance.''

The committee decided there was a low risk of the tree or branches falling but the consequences for residents if it did happen were high.

Dunedin Amenities Society committee member Paul Pope said it was disappointing to lose a significant tree.

''There are situations where you have to be pragmatic. That tree is just too big. It is not designed for an 800sq m section and it is going to cause problems in the future.''

 

Loss of tree

The tree was planted in 1889, house was extended around it in 1992, more than a century later. I'm guessing they chose this house because of the magnificent tree, but in the end, they condemned it with a death sentence. Before the owner extended the house in 1992, he/she should have researched how much space was needed for the roots of a redwood tree and surely must have already known about the leaf litter and moisture that such a tree produces. Such an extension should have never been allowed in the first place, now it will cost a great deal to remove the tree. Think of all the CQ2 this tree stored. What a waste! Was it poor planning or neglect?

Big trees on small sections

I grew up in this area. I can recall many large pines on this block. Over the decades they have slowly been felled, posing a danger or inconvenience. Originally they were not on a small section. I believe the trees were planted by around the house that took their name: The Pines, now confined to the corner of Berwick and Ethel St. The original property has been sub-divided over the last century until we end up with 90+ year old trees on postage stamp sections with 'new' houses somehow built right under them. The neighboring Wellingtonia ( similar age and size .. can still see it on Google Maps ) was felled a few years ago for restricting a driveway even though it too was older than the house/s it affected. Divide and conquer works with tree too it seems.

The problems that have lead to this tree's removal are not new. It was large 40 years ago. There has been a chain of foolish decisions made leading up to it being cut down 800 years before its time. I wonder how long the affected building will be standing ? I agree .. some trees are planted in bad positions for their eventual size, but when the tree is older than the property affected or the house underneath it, then it is not the tree at fault.

Treehouse

Which way round? Why buy the property in the first place?

Specimen tree

Is it possible to gather seed from this tree and plant them somewhere a little more 'pragmatic'. I would like to think that as this was a specimen tree, this is being seen to. My grandfather always said to me that if you take a tree, plant two in replacement. Had that been done more often, having to lose this tree may not have been such a shame, and future generations would know what a sequoia was.

Wakari's tree

I guess it was silly to have planted the tree beside the house in the first place, wasn't it ?  If, mind you, the tree was there first, then the house should go...

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