Cutting trees would be 'crass expediency'

A power company should reverse its decision to cut down trees along Ladies Mile, a daughter of the late Bill Walker says.

Delta announced last week it will remove the 29 trees lining Ladies Mile on the Walker family's land.

They are growing into overhead powerlines.

Gliding pioneer and businessman Mr Walker tended the collection of oak, cherry, beech, ash, maple, sweet chestnut and horse chestnut trees for more than 25 years.

But since he died tragically in a glider crash in Namibia in late 2014, his family has struggled to keep up.

Sonya Walker (33) said arborists charged thousands of dollars a time to trim them - and Delta said the trees needed trimming multiple times a year.

"Delta's made it really prohibitive and we just couldn't keep trimming them to the extent they required.''

The family signed a "no interest'' declaration on the trees, effectively giving permission for them to be removed.

"We knew there was a risk they'd remove them,'' she said.

"But it's a shame they can't come to the conclusion to keep them and trim them.''

Wine valley pioneer Alan Brady echoed her call.

He said the trees created "one of the most elegant approaches to any town in New Zealand''.

He labelled the decision to remove them as "crass expediency''.

Some trees were more than 50 years old.

Others were planted by Ms Walker's father.

"My dad used to trim them. He thought it was a wonderful avenue into Queenstown and hoped other landowners along the way might do the same.''

The trees are under high-voltage lines supplying 2600 houses in Arrowtown, Lower Shotover and Lake Hayes Estate.

Trees are a landowner's responsibility under the law.

Delta's asset management boss Derek Todd said it was not fair to expect power users to pay for trimming other people's trees.

Removing healthy, attractive trees was a last resort, he said.

Queenstown's council would not take financial responsibility for maintaining the trees.

Work to remove the trees begins next week.

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