Developer told to stop felling trees

Many trees bordering Cardrona Valley Rd near the entrance to Wanaka have been felled recently....
Many trees bordering Cardrona Valley Rd near the entrance to Wanaka have been felled recently. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson
Wanaka developer Allan Dippie has been told to stop cutting down trees at the entrance to the town.

However, Mr Dippie says all the trees felled on his property were a potential hazard.

His company Orchard Road Holdings Ltd owns the 84.6ha rural general site known as the ''triangle'', bound by Orchard, Cardrona Valley and Riverbank Rds, south of Wanaka.

In November last year, resource consent was granted to develop 18 lifestyle blocks on the land following a public hearing, at which Mr Dippie volunteered a ''tree protection corridor'' along Cardrona Valley Rd.

A consent condition was that no trees within the fenced corridor containing the conifer shelterbelt next to Cardrona Valley Rd should be removed, unless dead or dangerous, for at least 10 years after the development's structural planting was completed.

However, the council received a complaint from a member of the public last week that a large number of trees next to the road had been felled, QLDC regulatory manager Lee Webster said.

A council enforcement officer visited the site and issued Mr Dippie with a verbal order to cease work while the council investigated whether the tree felling complied with the conditions of his consent.

If not, the council could take action ranging from requiring the trees to be replanted to prosecution.

Mr Dippie told the Otago Daily Times no non-compliance had occurred.

Only about 10% of the trees in the shelter belt were being removed and only those that were dead or dangerous.

''We want to keep as many trees as we can because it's a very important entrance to Wanaka.''

Some of the trees were up to 80 years old and leaning out over the road.

''Our tree people are telling us in a good wind event or snow event we could potentially face some issues there. It could be a bit of an accident waiting to happen.

''I think when we get our tree report, the [stop works order] will be lifted pretty quickly because council won't want the liability of us not removing dangerous trees. In fact, they'd try and encourage it.''

At least 300 trees were being planted to replace the ones which were removed, Mr Dippie said.

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