Removal of birch trees angers residents

Queenstown residents are angry after two birch trees on a busy street in the town centre were felled as part of a project to relocate bus stops.

Following several weeks of construction, the three existing bus stops on Camp St will move to Stanley St, outside the Queenstown Arts Centre, in efforts to minimise disruption during upgrades to O'Connells Mall.

Yesterday morning, two large trees lining Stanley St were cut down to make way for the new bus stop.

Dozens of residents took to Queenstown Lakes District Council's Facebook page to air their frustration, calling the move "disgraceful'' and "shameful'', while questioning why there was no public consultation.

Contractors cut down two trees in Queenstown's CBD to make way for a new bus station. PHOTO:...
Contractors cut down two trees in Queenstown's CBD to make way for a new bus station. PHOTO: MIRANDA COOK

Amber Long, who lives near Stanley St, tried to get a court injunction yesterday morning to stop the tree removal, but it was too late.

Mrs Long said the public should have been made aware of what was happening.

"I'm not against progressive town planning, but it seems like cutting down two old trees to make way for a bus stop is unnecessary when Queenstown has a very strong environmental community, who would have been able to come up with another plan to work around the trees,'' Mrs Long said.

"They [these trees] provide shade, and in summer they bloom and are beautiful ... this just seems completely unnecessary.

"Queenstown's beauty is because of the trees.''

The council said it was an issue for the NZ Transport Agency because it was carrying out the work.

An NZTA spokeswoman said in a written statement the birch trees were not protected and were on private property, therefore, public consultation was not required.

"The three partners building the new bus stops, Otago Regional Council, QLDC and the transport agency are negotiating replacement trees in another part of the Queenstown urban area,'' the statement said.

miranda.cook@odt.co.nz

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