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Council draws the line at $225,000 price tag

Council draws the line at $225,000 price tag for tree's relocation

February 27, 2006

North Shore City Council has released details about the $225,000 price tag to relocate the phoenix palm/pohutukawa tree cluster on Esmonde Rd.

The council will soon remove the tree as part of the Esmonde Rd improvement project.

The breakdown of costs to relocate the cluster has been released following a variety of inaccurate figures appearing in the public arena. Councillors decided to remove the tree rather than spend $225,000 attempting to relocate it on Esmonde Rd, as part of the upgrade project.

Schedule of estimated costs is as follows: Tree cluster relocation direct costs: $99,900 Road closures: $73,000 Utility service relocation: $48,000 Temporary accommodation for residents: $5,000

Total: $225,900

North Shore City's infrastructure and environment committee chairman, Tony Barker, says councillors carefully considered all available information before reluctantly agreeing to remove the tree.

"We can't justify spending almost a quarter of a million dollars on trying to move the tree cluster when its ongoing survival following relocation is by no means guaranteed," says Councillor Barker.

"Four to five days of lane closures for city-bound traffic on Esmonde Rd, and the complete closure of the road on two consecutive nights, would considerably worsen congestion." The Esmonde Rd upgrade involves widening and landscaping Esmonde Rd between Lake Rd and the Assembly of God church. Work will begin this month, with expected completion early next year.

Committee deputy chairman, Chris Darby, says extensive landscaping will significantly enhance the coastal location of Esmonde Rd and form a strong visual gateway to the Takapuna and Devonport peninsula.

Councillor Darby says that despite the loss of the tree cluster, around 100 more pohutukawa trees will be planted on both sides of Esmonde Rd to create a boulevard effect. Landscaping and lighting plans have been prepared in consultation with local residents.

Planting along the coastal edge will be enhanced, and traffic island and berm areas will benefit from a mix of low native shrubs and groundcovers. Two small neighbourhood parks will be established on the corner of Eldon St and on the southern corner of the Lake Rd intersection.

A 12-metre footbridge will be constructed across the Shoal Bay inlet. The bridge will incorporate mangrove imagery to match its surroundings. New lighting will enhance security and safety along the walkway from Barry's Pt Rd to the cycleway connection adjacent to the Assembly of God.

The Esmonde Rd upgrade:

· Retains the number of existing traffic lanes

· Creates additional turning lanes to enhance flow for through-traffic

· Improves traffic safety through the introduction of raised median islands

· Is an important component of the Esmonde Interchange project (managed by Transit NZ)

· Incorporates cycle lanes in both directions.

ENDS

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