Reprieve for trees as council seeks 'other solutions'

The Waitaki District Council has put plans to remove nine trees at the edge of Oamaru Harbour in...
The Waitaki District Council has put plans to remove nine trees at the edge of Oamaru Harbour in Tyne St on hold. PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN
The removal of nine sycamore trees in Tyne St has been put on hold after Waitaki district councillors were caught out by council staff plans to fell the trees.

The council in a statement on Wednesday it would remove the roughly 30-year-old trees at the edge of the Oamaru Harbour area.

Yesterday, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said councillors and staff would meet at the site today to "see whether there were other solutions".

When asked whether the council statement indicating the trees would be removed was issued in error, he said "no".

"I think, along with most of the councillors, I believe they [the sycamore trees] have got good amenity value and we should be doing what we can to make sure they're not cut down."

The trees in question are on a road reserve alongside a Waterfront Rd and Tyne St harbour accommodation site sold by the council in July.

The council statement said the trees would be removed due to the expected "significant damage" they would face with the realignment of a large stormwater main following the closure of Arun St and the development of new accommodation on the site.

Mr Kircher said the design for the visitor accommodation development slated for the site had been approved by councillors - but the drawings used in that design approval process included the trees.

Cr Jeremy Holding, who lives in Tyne St, said the trees were a significant part of the streetscape and would help to "soften" the impact on neighbours of a new motel site on the land.

"I think it's important that we get it right - the access to the penguins and the harbour," Cr Holding said.

"I think we really need to take care with any development in that area, because it is kind of our crown jewel at the moment."

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust chairman Graeme Clark said he would be "gutted" if the trees were taken out, and he urged the council to "think outside the square a little bit" while work was under way on the council's harbour masterplan for the area.

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