Resident speaks for the trees

A Queenstown resident is concerned information about the Queenstown Lakes District Council's plans to remove several trees - including 11 eucalyptus species - along the Frankton Track is ''misleading''.

Submissions on the council's proposal to remove several ''large and oversized evergreen trees'' closed on January 18, attracting 17 submissions, the majority in favour.

However, at yesterday's community services committee meeting Mr Whiting said during the public forum he had concerns over the accuracy of statements being released to the public in ''foundation documents''.

Of most concern was the reason for the removal of the eucalyptus species, which had been stated as ''frost damage''.

''There are 11 eucalyptus trees left in three areas. Ten of them show no visible signs of frost damage.

''I invite you, as committee members, to go and check the site out there.

''If I'm wrong and there's frost damage that's not visible to the naked eye, then I'm wrong ... but if this is not frost damage, the information that's gone out to the public is incorrect.

''If you consult with the public they must have accurate facts before them; you must not mislead them.''

Community services general manager Paul Wilson told the committee the report summarising the submissions on the Frankton track tree removal would be presented at the next committee meeting, in six weeks, and would address Mr Whiting's comments.

Submissions viewed by the Queenstown Times indicated native trees and their resulting birdsong were desired on the track.

Fernhill resident Grant McLennan supported the proposal and hoped replacing exotic trees with natives would bring back birdsong.

''Queenstown and its surrounds represent a highly modified environment where the lack of native forest severely restricts the number [of] native bird species that can be supported.''

''I would like to see the council consult with the community to create initiatives for long-term replacement of exotics, particularly Douglas fir and pines.''

''The council should promote a long-term plan to create corridors of native species that will allow birds to move between food sources and thus increase the numbers of birds that can be supported.''

Removing and replacing the trees with native species was favoured by other submitters, with one calling the pine trees ''unsightly''.

The council originally anticipated combining the removing and replanting with the upgrade of the sewerage main but had decided to proceed with the tree work due to the sewerage project being postponed.

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