Crunch comes for sick heritage trees

Arborist Ben Stenner works to remove dead foliage from a silhouetted ash tree, which is one of...
Arborist Ben Stenner works to remove dead foliage from a silhouetted ash tree, which is one of seven diseased specimens being felled in Wanaka's avenue of heritage trees on Mt Aspiring Rd yesterday. Photos by Matthew Haggart.

Diseased heritage trees are being cut limb by limb during a three-day project to fell seven ash specimens from Wanaka's historic "avenue of trees" under a Queenstown Lakes District Council district-wide policy.

The seven heritage trees on Mt Aspiring Rd - originally planted by Wanaka's earliest settlers at the historic homestead site of Wanaka Station Park - are the most high-profile casualties of a QLDC review to identify dead and diseased trees posing a potential danger to the public.

The review to identify hazardous trees came in the wake of a fatal accident in which Queenstown man Russell Albert Liggett (57) was crushed under a poplar tree that blew over on his ute as he drove along Lower Shotover St in September 2009.

From left, arborists Olivia Colson and Ben Stenner with Otago Polytechnic students Sam Bradley, James Francis and Alf Lynch; in front foreman Luke  Sergent and Asplundh contracts manager Rob Slater.
From left, arborists Olivia Colson and Ben Stenner with Otago Polytechnic students Sam Bradley, James Francis and Alf Lynch; in front foreman Luke Sergent and Asplundh contracts manager Rob Slater.
A crew of seven arborists from council contractors Asplundh began the project to remove the ash trees from Mt Aspiring Rd yesterday.

Asplundh contracts manager Rob Slater said the felling was expected to take three days and would cause minor traffic disruptions as the timber was cut and cleared from the road.

Three Otago Polytechnic students are assisting the contracted arborists as part of a training programme during the project, Mr Slater said.

 

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