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Tree trimming closes Takapuna boardwalk

Safety-first tree trimming closes Takapuna boardwalk

December 21, 2004

North Shore City Council today closed the boardwalk at the northern end of Takapuna Beach to allow arborists to carry out emergency work to pohutukawa which threaten public safety and private property.

Council parks staff recently commissioned an independent assessment of the popular area known as the Sacred Pohutukawa Grove. The report, received yesterday, highlighted falling branches as a major risk.

Parks manager Andrew Rutledge says the council has no option but to take immediate action, starting with cordoning off the area with safety fencing this morning. This will result in limited tidal access to the beach from the northern entrance (by the boat ramp).

Some of the 24 pohutukawa, estimated to be more than 300 years old, pose risks which experts rate on a scale ranging from low to extreme.

"The importance of these great Kiwi Christmas trees is recognised by their listing on our Notable Tree Register. They are admired by the great majority of the community and are especially significant to Maori.

"We're consulting local iwi, coastal tree specialists and we'll hire the best arborists to do the work from now and throughout January.

"It is never a good time to undertake a project which disrupts the community to this extent, but we're acting in the public's interests here."

Takapuna Community Board chairperson Wayne Tisdall regrets the timing and endorses the safety-first approach.

"There are real dangers to life and limb," he says.

"During the past year limbs from three trees have fallen in the Sacred Grove. Fortunately, they each landed safely in the area alongside the boardwalk but we aren't prepared to risk more serious incidents."

Parks staff have contacted residents of the Mon Desir and Sands apartments about the situation. Arborists will need to access neighbouring properties as part of the remedial works.

The future of the native timber removed from the site will be determined after discussion with Maori.

The community is strongly advised to heed the warning signs and stay clear of the Sacred Grove until further notice. Heavy machinery will be in operation for at least six weeks.

ENDS


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