Canterbury councils and farmers are facing huge bills and
losses after last month's storm sent hundreds of hectares of
trees crashing to the ground.
Selwyn District Council reserves asset engineer Lucas Le Roux
said initial indications suggested up to a third of the
district's plantation trees may have been lost.
''We have had some widespread damage to our reserves and
cemeteries and to our plantation blocks. Our cemeteries and
reserves are being cleared up.
''We will be doing some assessments on our plantation blocks
in the next few weeks and then do the clearance work or
salvage harvests to to clear them up. I would suggest the
damage would be to 30-35% of our plantation trees.''
Mr Le Roux said the storm damage had been far more severe on
the plantation blocks than the earthquakes, which destroyed
around 10% of the trees.
The Waimakariri District Council's forestry team has
estimated losses would reach into the hundreds of thousands
of dollars with the council forests ''devastated''.
Council staff warned people to stay out of forested areas
which were ''inherently dangerous places''.
Even after advertising and putting up signs, some public were
ignoring the warnings. Some were also under the mistaken
belief they could take fallen trees for firewood, which was
Council staff were concerned ''someone is going to be
Chief financial officer Jeff Millward said it would be at
least two weeks before the council could accurately assess
the cost of the storm. In the Hurunui district, the cost of
clearing roads of fallen trees had climbed to around
Council roading and utilities manager David Edge said it was
the worst event in 40 years to hit the district.
Also of concern was the state of pipeline infrastructure.
Much of it was old and past its replacement date, but the
council had to balance the risk of restoring it with the
likelihood of further climate-related events.
The council had a policy of trying to encourage people not to
plant trees within a certain distance of council pipes, and
to cut down trees when they were young so their root system
did not affect the pipes.
New Zealand Farm Forestry Association North Canterbury branch
secretary Gary Fleming said those with privately owned
forests would also be hit hard in the pocket.
''I had some trees which were ready to go to the mill, but
they came down in the storm and made an even bigger mess,
taking out a deer fence.
''The logs are ruined, so it is going to be big loss.
''One farmer said he had lost 25ha of trees, which would
amount to tens of thousands of dollars.''
Mr Fleming is compiling a report for the New Zealand Farm
Forestry Association on how trees performed in the storm and
which ones survived the best and was keen to hear from local
Mr Fleming can be contacted on (03) 312-9274 or by emailing
- by Robyn Bristow and David Hill