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Council to prosecute over loss of heritage kowhai

7 December 2005

Council to prosecute over loss of heritage kowhai

The people who took to a large old Tory Street kowhai tree with a chainsaw last evening will be prosecuted under the Resource Management Act.

The tree is one of more than 160 heritage trees listed in the city’s District Plan and resource consent is required to do anything other than minor trimming work.

Wellington City Council Parks and Gardens Manager Paul Andrews says a park ranger got there as quickly as he could and managed to convince the four people working on the tree they must stop.

“Unfortunately, by then, they had already done irreparable damage,” he says. “Staff and Councillors share the public’s disgust at what has been done to one of the city’s most significant street trees and what was a Tory Street landmark.”

“Members of the public who saw this happening contacted the Council and we have had lots of calls today from people upset at this appalling vandalism.”

The Council is seeking legal advice today but intends to prosecute the person, or people, responsible for the damage.

Mr Andrews says the Council received a call from a member of the public at 6.35pm last night and immediately contacted one of the park rangers. He was about half an hour away so the police were called to the scene.

The people working on the tree convinced the police that they had the authority to remove it and work continued until the park ranger arrived just after 7pm. The ranger told them he believed what they were doing was illegal and again called the police.

At that stage work on the tree stopped.

Council staff have been at the scene today to survey the damage. Branches were placed in a skip but there is no sign of the plaque that was mounted beside the tree when the tree removal work began.

ENDS

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