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Council stumps up to save trees

Marlborough District Council’s Assets and Services Committee has this afternoon agreed in principle to fund the difference required to save 70 oak trees along Dog Point Road, near Renwick.

Assets and Services Committee Chair, Councillor Terry Sloan, said the Committee decided to reallocate the $14,000 it originally intended to use to fell the trees, and instead use it to cover the short fall which will allow the powerlines to be diverted underground, and the trees remain intact.

The oak trees, which were originally planted on public land by a neighbour, have been an ongoing issue for Council and Marlborough Lines since 2013 when they were considered a risk to overhead powerlines. Over the past six years, Council, as the landowner of the trees, has contributed $4,600 to trim the trees to a safe height, every six months.

Earlier this year, Council decided the most cost effective solution was to remove the line of trees on the south side of the road when their branches again posed an unacceptable risk to 11,000-volt power lines.

This decision promoted local residents to mount a campaign to save the 30-year old trees. The alternative to felling the trees was to underground the power cables.

Landowners were originally advised it would cost $160,000 to install underground powerlines along the road, however, this amount decreased to $99,590 in June, as a result of rerouting the cables. The group also raised $86,300 in donation pledges, but was left with a shortfall of $13,290.

“Council has been in regular contact with local residents for a number of years to determine the best way forward on this issue,” Clr Sloan said.

“I’m pleased we have been able to work together to reach a safe outcome for all parties involved,” he said.

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