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More District Plan Becomes Operative

More District Plan Becomes Operative
June 9, 2003

The Environment Court has given North Shore City Council the thumbs-up to make more of its District Plan operative.

The key parts include the council's general tree protection policy and rules, and the designation and associated provisions for the Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.

Tony Holman, who chairs the city's strategy and finance committee, says this is a good result.

"Making more parts of the plan operative benefits the council and our communities. It helps us to respond to planning applications in a much smoother, cost-effective and efficient manner," Councillor Holman says.

"I am particularly pleased that the tree and bush protection policy and rules are now confirmed. Trees have a special place in North Shore City and this will help to protect them," he says.

Tony Holman is warning fellow residents to be wary of contractors posing as professional arborists offering cheap, cash-only tree trimming deals.

Councillor Holman says there are "cowboys with chainsaws" door-knocking around the city touting for business - and sometimes with intimidation. He has himself been approached by two contractors who came knocking on his door.

"Their ignorance of our general tree protection safeguards and disregard for trees is of real concern. I don't want to see residents misled or parting with any money for work which may breach the regulations and cause them further worry or expense."

"We're concerned that these contractors are claiming to be qualified or competent arborists when they're not. We're well aware of those contractors who are professional operators who work to a high standard. Similarly, we are aware of those who do not. Through our resource consent process, we recommend that only experienced arborists familiar with our tree protection rules should undertake work on trees."

Other residents have called the council concerned about some contractors using strong-arm approaches to get tree trimming business. The work is often carried out to a poor standard with horrific results to the appearance of trees and causing distress to owners.

Tony Holman says this is completely unacceptable and the sooner the door's closed on them the better.

He advises residents to always check out the credentials, experience and references of any contractor offering tree services and call council's Actionline on 486 8600 if they're unsure. Residents should also check protection status of their trees with council's advisory planners, before doing any work on trees. Through the consent process, council arborists can provide impartial advice to residents about what is best for their trees.

North Shore City's District Plan was made operative in part in June 2002 following an Environment Court order and the council's official confirmation. The Plan outlines how the city's natural and man-made resources are managed, and how the way land is used or developed in the city is enabled or restricted. It identifies objectives for looking after and improving the environment, and policies and rules for achieving them. The rules point out whether people need resource consent for different types of activities and buildings.

Councillor Holman says the council will continue to improve the District Plan and seek to resolve any outstanding issues.

The parts of the plan which are not being made operative at this stage include the Long Bay Structure Plan area, Bayswater marina land, Okura (currently before the Environment Court), financial contributions, and some other site-specific matters including NZ Defence Force land.

The North Shore City District Plan can be viewed on the website http://www.northshorecity.govt.nz/ Information on the council's tree and bush protection policy can also be found on this website or people can contact Actionline on 486 8600 for a copy of the brochure Tree and Bush Protection in North Shore City or the guide Caring for our Trees and Bush which helps people select, plant and manage trees on their property, and offers advice on building near trees and how to deal with trees on boundaries.

(ends)


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