Mosgiel macrocarpa felling dispute causes anguish

Rachael Brinsdon yesterday discusses her concerns with police about a macrocarpa partly on her...
Rachael Brinsdon yesterday discusses her concerns with police about a macrocarpa partly on her property being cut down. PHOTOS: PETER MCINTOSH
A Mosgiel woman cried when a dispute with a neighbour over a tree escalated yesterday.

Police were called and the tree was felled.

Rachael Brinsdon watched in horror as arborists cut down a large macrocarpa on her boundary and that of property developer Brodie Anderson.

Mrs Brindson said she told Mr Anderson when he proposed the removal of the tree 15 months ago she would consent to that if plans about the consequential rise of the water table, fencing and adequate time to prepare for the event were discussed.

Last Wednesday, Mrs Brinsdon lodged an application with the Disputes Tribunal amid fears her concerns would not be addressed.

A lawyer told Mrs Brindson arborists would come about October 16. She believed this would not happen because the case was yet to be heard.

But men turned up with chainsaws next to her Lanark St house yesterday.

``It really is gutting because we've been reasonable the whole way through. We've said he can remove the tree. Just address a few issues first.

``But he's just bulldozed over that.''

An arborist prepares to fell the tree.
An arborist prepares to fell the tree.
As branches from the tree crashed down, another occupant at the property squirted the arborists with a hose.

Mrs Brinsdon believed her consent was needed because a tree expert confirmed part of the tree would have been planted on the boundary of both properties.

Eco Tree Care owner Sean Hancock, speaking on behalf of Mr Anderson,

said a 1959 survey plan mentioned other trees which shared boundaries with nearby properties but not the macrocarpa.

Gallaway Cook Allan consultant Stephen Grant said if the tree was planted on Mr Anderson's side of the boundary and had since grown over to Mrs Brinsdon's side Mr Anderson still retained the right to remove the tree without permission.

``If there had been a live macrocarpa tree growing on the boundary at that time (and given the present girth of the tree we believe that the tree would have been growing by then) it would have attracted a note by the surveyor.''

Mr Anderson, who planned to build townhouses on the Argyle St section, believed the tree would be hazardous if not removed, Mr Hancock said.

``From my perspective as a professional, I certainly wouldn't want my kids near it.''

He was disappointed about what happened when the tree was cut down.

``We've offered to plant more trees and some compensation, but that's not what she wanted.

``But spraying water at my staff while they are trying to do their job is unsafe and immature.''

Police could not intervene because the incident involved a civil case.

Mrs Brinsdon said she was ``shocked this could happen in New Zealand''.

She planned to proceed with the Disputes Tribunal hearing.

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