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Danger prompts felling & replacement of trees by power lines

Danger prompts felling and replacement of trees near power lines

Following discussions between Council, Northpower and Pehiaweri marae representatives, a row of trees at Otuihau, Whangarei Falls reserve, is to be felled this month and replaced with new trees next winter.

Council Parks and Recreation Technical Officer Stuart Jackson says 12 totara trees within the reserve beside Boundary Road have grown into the 11,000 volt power lines here and are posing a safety risk.

“The reserve is a play area so there is a real risk that children climbing the trees could be electrocuted, and that the trees could also start to interfere with the power supply before long.”

Mr Jackson said the law requires trees to be at least 2.6metres clear of power lines, and if they aren’t the property owner or Northpower can be liable for significant fines.

“We consulted with Northpower about the problem and have received Cut or Trim Notice (CTN) that requires us to make the trees safe within 40 working days.”

“Normally, we trim trees and we have done this numerous times before, but in this case the trees are of such a size that if we trim them 2.6m from the power lines, there will be very little left and they will look shocking,” he said, “so following discussions between the Pehiaweri marae representatives and Northpower, we have all agreed that felling and replacing is the better option. We will discuss the species of trees to plant with the people involved in the months to come.”

Mr Jackson said timber from the trees was offered to the marae but it was agreed to be unsuitable for wood carving. Instead, the trees will be chipped and the marae will receive a share of the resulting wood chip to be used as mulch in gardens, the same as WDC does with the remainder.

Whangarei District Council Infrastructure Services Chairman Greg Martin said most people in the Whangarei community had a strong attachment to the trees that offered so much character to the District, and felling often caused concern.

“Local people have spoken to us about this and we have listened to each other. It’s good to see a common sense solution has been found and that there will be new trees.”

ENDS

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