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Coastal pohutukawa spared the chop


Coastal pohutukawa spared the chop

North Shore City Council has turned down an application to remove one 45 foot, 150-year old pohutukawa and cut back another two of the coastal natives in Takapuna's Minnehaha Ave.

The council's Takapuna hearing commissioners this week considered the application by Treecare Services on behalf of resident Scott Vernon who wants to develop his 506 sq m beachfront property, located at the southern end of Thorne's Bay.

In announcing the decision, co-ordinating commissioner Councillor Wyn Hoadley says the proposed tree works would have diminished the character of the foreshore area along which a continuous canopy of pohutukawa now stands. It would also have risked damaging the native karo and taupata seedlings around the pohutukawa.

"This was a difficult decision to make as we had to take into account the property owner's rights, our city's tree protection rules and strong community feeling on the issue," she says.

The council had notified the application last December to allow the public the opportunity to have their say on the proposal. Of the 80 submissions received, 73 were opposed to the work going ahead with four in favour and three offering qualified support.

Most submitters felt the grove of trees was integral to the beauty and heritage of Thorne's Bay and that coastal pohutukawa should be retained for future generations. Many people were passionately opposed to the tree works and any further residential intensification along the coastline.

Councillor Hoadley says the decision to protect the trees recognises their importance to the environment, their historical contribution to the area and the enduring pleasure they bring to those people from near and far who have admired them over the years.

"Our pohutukawa are truly taonga, or treasures, for everyone in the community to enjoy and it is our wish that these Kiwi Christmas trees remain for many years to come," she says.

It is not known exactly the age of the pohutukawa but estimates range from at least 150 years to 300 years old.

The applicant has the right of appeal.

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