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Draft public trees policy released

Draft public trees policy released

Gisborne District Council is looking for feedback on a draft policy about when public trees should be pruned or removed.

Council requested staff draft a policy to cover the 4,730 trees on streets, parks and other council land, after recent contentious requests to remove trees.

Council intends to make it clear how we will manage trees in the future, says community policy and resources manager Yvette Kinsella. “The draft Pruning and Removal of Public Trees policy focuses on one aspect of the management of public trees. A suite of policies will be developed in the future relating to the planning, planting and management of public trees.”

“The draft policy outlines a process for making decisions on the pruning and removal of public trees. It is proposed that public trees will be removed when the removal has been planned for, when they present a significant risk to others or when the trees are sick or damaged. Decisions would be made by council’s parks and community property manager on the advice of suitably qualified arborists.”

“Where people request a public tree be removed or pruned, that is not part of Council’s normal maintenance work, decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Arborist’s will use best practice tree evaluation methods that take into consideration the commemorative, heritage, ecological, scientific, amenity and botanical values of the tree. Should a decision be made to prune or remove the tree, all costs will be paid for by those who made the request.”

It is proposed council will only consult on pruning and removal of public trees where the tree has significant value. Some work towards establishing a tree register and a compiling a list of notable trees has already started.

Council currently has a Street Tree Policy. Parts of the Street Tree Policy related to tree maintenance will be superseded by this new policy.

Copies of the draft Pruning and Removal of Public Trees policy are available from Council’s website or from Customer Services in Fitzherbert Street and Te Puia Springs. Written submissions are welcomed on Council’s website, by mail or email. Submissions close at 5pm on Monday 7 July 2014.

ENDS

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