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Queen Street will stay green street, says council

Queen Street will stay green street, says council

Auckland City councillors tonight approved revised recommendations for tree plantings in stage one of the $30 million Queen Street upgrade.

This will result in the removal of 17 trees but they will be replaced by the same number of better quality exotic trees. In addition, some native trees will be planted, but not including cabbage trees.

Previously the plan had been to remove 20 trees in poor or average condition or which obstructed new canopies or pedestrian access and replace them with natives.

The adopted recommendations were based on a report by an independent panel of arborists which largely agreed with the original tree assessment for stage one between Mayoral Drive and Wellesley Street.

The Mayor of Auckland City Dick Hubbard said that in view of the considerable public interest in the original planting proposals after the stage one start date was announced pre-Christmas he was delighted that a satisfactory resolution to concerns had hopefully been found.

" We thought we had addressed all the major concerns raised through the long consultation over the Queen Street upgrade but we obviously overlooked the level of interest in trees," he said.

"These learnings and the review process we've undertaken will be applied to our proposals for the three other stages of the upgrade. One thing's for sure - we'll keep Queen St green."

The peer review panel, comprising three qualified arborists, who specialise in trees in an urban environment and a dendrologist who specialises in trees in a natural environment, examined all the trees in stage one and agreed with most of the original findings.

After analysing the review panel's report, council officers recommended three additional trees be retained - two plane trees outside Sky City entertainment centre and the liquidambar near the Methodist Mission.

New trees to replace those which need removing will include no fewer exotics than currently found, chosen from such varieties as liriodendron, alder, tilia and pin oak specimens. They will be supplemented with native trees selected from such varieties as upright pohutukawa, rata, taraira and nikau.

The changes will result in two to three weeks to finalise a detailed planting plan and a similar period to prepare a resource consent.

Summary of original plans, peer review and officer recommendations:

Retention, removal and replacement

Original planting plan Peer review recommendations for retention/removal (based on health of trees) Officer revised
(based on peer review cross referenced with upgrade plans)
Retain 16 trees which are in good condition.

Removal of 20 trees which are in poor to average condition or which obstruct new canopies or pedestrian access.

Retain - 17

Remove/replace - 14

Remove or retain short-term - 3

Retain short-term - 3

Retain - 19

Includes three additional trees to be retained:

* Two plane trees outside Sky City entertainment centre.

* One liquidambar adjacent to Methodist Mission.

Total also includes three trees the peer review recommended retaining only short-term

Remove - 17

Variance from peer review due to:

* Significant impact on ability to plant new trees due to utility services.

* Recommendation not to retain trees on a short-term basis.

Species selection

Original planting plan Officers' revised recommendations for species selection

All new or replacement trees in stage one to be native, specifically cabbage trees in this part of Queen Street.

That new trees planted in stage one include (where planting pits in the new design allow):

* no fewer exotics than are currently in this area, chosen from:

Pin oak

* new natives trees chosen from such varieties as

Pohutukawa (upright varieties)


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