Trees to be cut from track

Comment is being sought on a Queenstown Lakes District Council proposed programme of tree removal and replanting on Frankton Track.

Parks manager Gordon Bailey said the project, which would see the removal of several ''large and oversized evergreen trees'', to be replaced with natives, had been in the pipeline for some time.

The work would take place on the lake side of the track only.

''We originally anticipated combining this work with the upgrade of the sewage main that runs adjacent to the track, but with that on hold for the time being, we've decided to proceed with the tree programme as a stand-alone project,'' Mr Bailey said.

Trees marked for removal were primarily Douglas fir, eucalyptus and pine trees, along with some other specimen trees that were ''dead or near dead'' and posed a risk to public safety.

Pine and Douglas fir were wilding species that spread easily, quickly taking over from other trees, while the few eucalyptus left were in poor health because of annual frost damage. There was also concern some trees were close enough to the sewer line to damage the pipes.

The programme had been carefully planned so the track would not lose any of its ''atmosphere''.

''We'll be leaving most larch, willow and sycamores in place, which will continue to provide seasonal colour and that feeling of walking or biking through a woodland area.

''The proposed replanting will be sympathetic to the planting already done around the developments in the area and by the residents who live above the Frankton Track, and the removal of the high, dark canopy will see the self-sown native plants that are already growing under the evergreens absolutely take off."

The council wanted feedback from track users and residents about the programme.

More information on the proposals, including photos showing which trees are likely to be removed, is available at www.qldc.govt.nz and at council offices. Feedback should be with the council by Friday, January 18.