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Community service for illegal tree felling

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL

Community service for illegal tree felling

An Avondale resident convicted of felling a generally protected tree has been ordered to serve 180 hours’ community service.

Alice Sylvia Presley admitted removing a 14-metre
-high Liquid Amber tree from her Roberton Road property after she was twice denied a resource consent to fell the tree.

In the Auckland District Court, Judge Fred McElrea said a fine would be inappropriate for Ms Presley and ordered her to serve 180 hours’ community service.

He also ordered her to replace the felled tree with another tree of similar size and structure, and maintain it into the future.

Auckland City’s manager of service requests, Jackie Wilkinson, says the sentence serves as a timely warning that the courts take the unauthorised felling of trees very seriously.

“It’s really important that people understand that trees over a certain height are protected and the courts will hand down stiff penalties to those who do not abide by the rules.

“Anyone thinking of carrying out any work on a native tree over six-metres-high or an exotic tree over eight-metres-high should call the council to see if they need a resource consent,” Ms Wilkinson says.

Council officers visited Ms Presley’s property in June 2005 and noticed materials stored around the drip-line of the generally protected Liquid Amber tree.

They asked her to remove the materials and advised her that she would need a resource consent if she wanted to remove the tree.
Ms Presley applied for a resource consent to remove the tree and this was declined. She appealed that decision, and it was re-assessed and declined a second time.

In September, a council officer visited the site and found that all that remained of the tree was a two-metre high stump.

Ms Wilkinson says Judge McElrea considered that Ms Presley’s culpability was high because she was aware of the rules but went ahead and felled the tree any way.

Ends

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