New board has last say on fate of pines

Wilding pines on Central Otago District Council-owned land on the Half Mile near Alexandra. PHOTO...
Wilding pines on Central Otago District Council-owned land on the Half Mile near Alexandra. PHOTO: CENTRAL OTAGO DISTRICT COUNCIL
The results are in - but a decision on the future of the pines at Alexandra’s Half Mile Recreation Reserve will be left in the hands of a new-look community board after local elections in October.

Last year the proposed logging of all pines on the reserve was paused following outrage from neighbouring residents who said they had not been consulted nor given advance notice.

The Vincent Community Board sought feedback on the proposed development plan for the reserve, including the controversial plan to fell wilding conifers.

A survey was conducted between May 31 and June 30, with 154 people responding.

At a meeting yesterday afternoon the board received a report with the survey results.

The survey showed opinions were evenly divided on the removal of the trees - 56% of respondents supported and 40% opposed their removal.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents lived in the Vincent Ward and 53 (out of 137) lived in Bridge Hill near the reserve.

A third of Bridge Hill residents strongly disagreed with the statement.

"The proposed development plan for Alexandra’s Half Mile Recreation Reserve will enhance the area and meet the needs of the community."

This was in contrast to 34% of overall respondents who strongly agreed with the statement.

Central Otago District Council parks and recreation manager Gordon Bailey told the community board the next step would be to analyse the survey results and determine options for the board to consider.

"Whether that’s removing the pines in their entirety, staging, not removing them, that sort of options, and the reason for those options," he said.

Cr Lynley Claridge questioned if the newly elected community board would receive information gathered from public sessions and other means, not just the survey, before they were charged with making a

Council executive manager of planning and environment, Louise van der Voort, said community board members would be "fully informed" with the information wrapped into a report for the board.

The issue would be presented to members as soon as possible following local elections, she said.



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