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Trees topple near Birkenhead Wharf

Trees topple near Birkenhead Wharf

April 6, 2006

No one was hurt when two old pohutukawa trees toppled near Birkenhead Wharf yesterday - one onto a vehicle in the car park, and the other over the path near the dinghy sheds.

North Shore City Council parks manager, Andrew Rutledge, says the most likely cause is the age of the trees and changing ground conditions.

"We estimate the pohutukawa are about 80 years old, and with the recent rain and being planted in a south-facing position, the ground underneath has loosened," he says.

The council is adopting a safety-first approach, and as a result of further investigation by an arborist, three other trees of similar age and structure will be trimmed over the next week.

"Many of the large pohutukawa trees there are in fact two or three trees that were planted in the same spot and have grown together, which increases the risk of parts splitting off," says Mr Rutledge.

"We've got to act in the public's interest and we're simply not prepared to put people at risk," he says.

A similar situation at the Sacred Grove at the northern end of Takapuna Beach in 2004 saw the boardwalk closed while remedial work could be done on trees where falling branches were a major risk.

ENDS

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