Mixed reaction to planned tree removals

Tapanui resident Tony Williams wants to see cherry trees outside his Tramway St home pruned,...
Tapanui resident Tony Williams wants to see cherry trees outside his Tramway St home pruned, rather than removed as proposed by the Clutha District Council. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
Some Tapanui residents are unhappy with council plans to give roadside trees near their homes the chop.

In a recent report prepared jointly by Clutha District Council and West Otago Community Board, problematic berm trees in Tapanui have been identified for pruning or removal.

The report, which tags 15 trees for removal and more than 18 for pruning or other work, was discussed at yesterday's board meeting.

The Otago Daily Times talked to some residents whose homes adjoin the affected trees, and who are unhappy with their proposed removal.

Retired Tramway St resident Tony Williams said he would be sad to see twin flowering cherries - identified in the report as "quite ugly'' - removed from the street.

"They look pretty good in spring, and basically there's nothing wrong with them a quick prune-up wouldn't fix... I'd rather see them serviced than removed.''

Elsewhere in the township, news of specific trees' likely removal was met with approval, and even enthusiasm.

Residents on Sherwood Pl said they would be "delighted'' to see a "problematic'' 10m silver birch tree removed from the street's central reserve.

The tree played host to unwanted insects, and was believed to aggravate hay fever while pollinating.

"I've put up with that tree for 17 years, leaves blowing in my door and bugs everywhere. It hangs out over the road and shades people's houses, so I don't think anyone will be sad to see it go,'' nearby resident Leonie Blanc said.

Council group manager service delivery Jules Witt said the berm report and related work was intended to keep the township's amenity trees in safe and presentable condition.

"We last did this in Tapanui about a decade ago, so quite a few of the trees have grown and changed in that time, and many now require work.''

He said opinion would vary on specific trees and their value, and urged the board to consider public consultation before proceeding.

Work would be carried out under the council's parks and reserves budget, and could take 6-18 months to complete.

The board requested council staff conduct a public consultation process on the removal of specific trees in time for its next meeting, on May 29.

richard.davison@odt.co.nz

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