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Ruapehu Council Reluctantly Decides To Fell Heritage Trees

Council Reluctantly Decides To Fell Heritage Trees

Ruapehu District Council (RDC) has reluctantly decided to fell the stand of indigenous heritage trees by the Scout Den on the O’Reilly Crescent Reserve in Taumarunui.

The stand of 43 indigenous heritage trees made up of 35 Kahikatea and eight Totara have been causing issues for the surrounding properties for over 60 years.

RDC Chief Executive, Peter Till, said that the trees have been the subject of ‘request for service’ calls to Council going back to the late 1950’s/early 1960’s.

“Council has a record from 1963 when six residents of O’Reilly Crescent requested the then Borough Council fell or thin the trees,” he said.

“The properties in close proximity to the trees have complained of their shading caused which results in cold, damp homes with mould and moisture on internal walls.”

“The size of the trees also poses a risk from windfall branches and to power lines.”

“Council was faced with the option of either; removing any damaged species and leaving the rest of the trees as is, removing two thirds of the trees and leaving the best species, or felling them all.

“The decision to fell the trees was taken very reluctantly, however, on balance is seen as the best and safest long term option.”

“Thinning the trees had additional problems as the roots of the trees are intertwined and taking some out could affect the stability of the others.”

Mr Till noted that the average age of the trees is estimated to be 110 years with the typical lifespan of Kahikatea and Totara being around 450 years.

“Some of these tree species reach over 800 years of age,” he said.

“Kahikatea are also one of the tallest growing tree species in NZ reaching over 60m in height.”

“With the Kahikatea in the reserve are currently only at between 20 and 35m and so around half their mature height we would have even bigger problems in the future.”

Mr Till added that Council has consulted with the local residents and the O’Reilly family on the issues the trees are causing and the options for dealing with them.

“Some of the trees will be made available to the Maori Council for carving, the remainder will be tendered out to help minimise the cost of removal.”

“As the trees are listed as heritage trees on the District Plan a Resource Consent is required before they can be felled and this process is now underway.”

“Council will be planting replacement trees in another location to help alleviate the impact from the loss of the trees as well as planting smaller growing native species at the Scout Den site.”
“A decision on where the new trees are to be planted is still to be made and Council would welcome suggestions from the public as to where this could be,” she said.

“Anyone with a good location in mind can email info@ruapehudc.govt.nz, put a suggestion on our Facebook page, or call 895 8188.”

ENDS

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