Petition demands council take action over potentially hazardous palm tree

Jo Dickson and Maurice Grant started the petition. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Jo Dickson and Maurice Grant started the petition. Photo: Geoff Sloan
A petition demanding Christchurch City Council take action over a potentially hazardous palm tree in Shirley has garnered more than 105 signatures.

Residents Jo Dickson and Maurice Grant submitted the petition to the city council over their inaction to fix the broken planter box the tree sits in for the last six years.

The box, at the Palm Drive and Laguna Gardens intersection, has cracks along the side of it.

Residents are concerned that the tree could fall onto nearby pedestrians and cars at any moment.

But city council city streets maintenance manager Mark Pinner said the stability of the tree was currently of no concern as it did not present any immediate danger to road users.

The palm tree on the corner of Palm Drive and Laguna Gardens. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The palm tree on the corner of Palm Drive and Laguna Gardens. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Dickson was told by the city council that funding had been set aside to fix the box in 2015, but she said no work has been done since.

“It’s just frustrating. A lot of people have said if we were on the other side of town, it probably would’ve been fixed already,” she said.

“It’s been put in the too-hard basket. The palm tree is in good condition, and they [council] say it was the roots that caused it.”

Last year the Papanui-Innes Community Board requested council staff to consider a range of options, such its removal, repair or replacement.

Photo: Geoff Sloan
Photo: Geoff Sloan
However, the city council decided to defer the decision on the tree’s future to the urban development and transport committee due to the costs involved.

Residents said they did not want the tree removed, or for it to be placed directly into the ground instead, like others in the area. But council staff said this would compromise the structural integrity of the tree.

Dickson feared the city council would delay work for another six to eight years, which was why she started the petition in order for them to take action within the next few months.

Said Pinner: “As this feature is unique to this location, council were informed of the costs which are between $20,000 and $40,000.

“An arborist inspected the tree and was judged to be in good health. The planter box walls are relatively low, and in a few cases, rotated slightly due to root growth.”

Dickson will be speaking more about the issue at the Urban Development and Transport Committee’s meeting next Wednesday.

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