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Mayor vows to keep Queen Street green

January 4, 2006

Mayor vows to keep Queen Street green

Mayor of Auckland City Dick Hubbard said today that there will be no removal of trees on Queen Street until further investigation takes place.

The Mayor was speaking on the first day of the multi-million dollar upgrade of Queen Street.

"Clearly we underestimated the passion and deep concern Aucklanders have for the trees on Queen Street- and I applaud the level of interest," he said, "This council must move with the times too."

The Mayor and Save the Trees campaigner Lesley Max will select three independent arborists who will assess each individual tree in the area from Wellesley Street to Mayoral Drive. They will report back to the Mayor in ten day's time.

But the Mayor warned the health of the trees is only part of the problem. He said there are trees that are currently planted in locations that will interfere with construction of much-needed canopies in currently exposed areas.

"It may be that there are some trees that need to be relocated or removed but if they have to go they will be replaced with exotic trees that will be superior to the original trees because the tree pits will be larger and will allow for better tree growth."

"We will not be removing trees to plant natives in their place. But there will be an opportunity to plant natives along Queen Street to give it a distinctly Pacific feel. There seems to be general consensus that the people of Auckland would like a mixture of exotics and natives and the overall requirement is for plenty of greenery."

"It is an opportunity to review the proposed planting plan. We'll do that and bring the public into the loop as we go along."

The Mayor said he had no doubt that the trees were planted on the cheap 25 years ago.

"It seems the pits were too small and too shallow to allow for healthy growth and they have been poorly located and maintained over the past two decades. We are paying dearly for that now," he said.

In the meantime it has been agreed there will be a moratorium on tree removal until January 19, 2006.

Council will receive a full report on a tree-by-tree basis and then make a decision at a special Council meeting in mid -January.


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