Tree felling gets council approval after checks

Allan Dippie.
Allan Dippie.
Tree felling has resumed at the entrance to Wanaka, after developer Allan Dippie was found to be acting in accordance with his resource consent.

Now Mr Dippie is urging other Wanaka landowners to be proactive in managing unsafe trees on their properties.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council had issued Mr Dippie's company Orchard Road Holdings Ltd with a stop work order on July 23, after concerns were raised by a member of the public about the large number of trees being cut down on his land next to Cardrona Valley Rd, near the entrance to Wanaka.

Mr Dippie's resource consent conditions stipulated no trees within the fenced corridor containing the conifer shelterbelt next to the road could be removed, unless dead or dangerous.

He provided the council with an arborist's report which stated the trees cut down all met those criteria and were therefore a potential hazard.

Yesterday, QLDC legal and regulatory general manager Scott Carran said the council had appointed its own independent qualified arborist, who had assessed the shelterbelt and confirmed the trees removed were in ''poor condition'' and several others were in ''imminent danger'' of being blown down.

''The findings mean that developer Orchard Road Holdings Ltd was not in breach of its resource consent to have the trees felled as an urgent measure, as under the consent any trees posing a safety risk may be removed,'' Mr Carran said.

The report commissioned by the council also identified other trees in the shelterbelt that needed to be felled.

Mr Dippie was pleased he and the council were ''on the same page'' now.

''They're doing exactly what we thought ... and it's good to work with them proactively.

''And I think other landowners need to look at trees that are on private land, particularly next to roads or other hazards, because there's a few around Wanaka at the moment that I think need to get better management than they're getting.

''Some ... are reaching an age where they are getting dangerous.

''It's important for landowners, I believe, to take a proactive stance with these issues ... the primary focus of these things is public safety.''

Two of the trees in the roadside shelterbelt on Mr Dippie's land had been blown over in last week's strong gales, just as his arborist had predicted might happen.

The company's felling work would continue throughout the next couple of weeks and motorists were advised to expect short delays on Cardrona Valley Rd throughout that time, Mr Dippie said.

Trees will be planted to replaced those which have been removed.

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz