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Council plans to deforest Newmarket Park

Council plans to deforest Newmarket Park

The Auckland City council is planning a deforestation of 2 hectares of mature forest on the slopes of Newmarket Park.

Local resident and neighbour Ethne Thomas said today “This area provides a green belt that is unique. It is within a close proximity of a built up area and yet provides a natural environment; a restful place for people to visit, sit and walk.” She said “many neighbouring residential properties look onto this green belt. It enhances people’s quality of life and removing it will devalue our quality of life and the financial value of our properties.”

Newmarket park is a unique natural habitat for a large variety of birds, some exotic and some native. Mrs. Thomas said “with the forest destroyed many of the bird species will not survive. In particular ground species that live in the undergrowth such as pukeko, pheasant and quail who currently live and breed in the area.” She said that “other species such as morpork will find it difficult to adapt to living in urban Auckland without shelter and food that is provided by the forest in Newmarket Park.”

Newmarket Park was built on an old landfill and the council plans to remove the forest to stabilise the land to prevent a posible slip that could endangering people using the park. Mrs Thomas said “I have been told that the consulting firm has given the council three proposals for stabilising the slope and I have been told that the council has taken the cheapest option which is deforestation.” She is concerned that the council has not undertaken adequate due diligence "the council has not undertaken a risk assessment of the area compared to the other cliffs and slopes in the area."

“There are other unstable areas that the council are conserving in their natural state. For example the new Hobson Bay walkway at the bottom of Parnell cliff was constructed and opened two years ago and there is evidence of at least twenty slips.” Mrs Thomas went on to say “The paths remain open and I have not heard of any remedial action planned to modify the cliff. The pathways have been carefully constructed around trees.”

The Council intends to create a serious of terraces instead of a slope at Newmarket Park. The proposal is to plant grass and eventually plant some one year old trees. Mrs Thomas expressed her concerns about the proposal “if they do this, and there are no guarantees they will, then it will be another 30 years before a new forest matures. Some of the bird species will never return.”


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