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Tree Removal Near Sala Street, Rotorua

More than 100 trees will soon be removed from the reserve area alongside Puarenga Stream, near Sala Street, to reduce the risk of tree fall.

The removal project, which is due to start in July, is a joint effort between Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Rotorua Lakes Council and Scion, who each own land from which the trees will be removed.

It was prompted by an increase in falling and shedding of trees in the area, which are regularly causing disruption and damage to property and infrastructure.

Kerry Smith, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Rivers and Drainage Area Engineer, says increasing weather events and storms raise the risk of treefalls, and proactive action is needed.

“We’ve had a very busy year for falling trees in this area. One particularly big one came down across Sala Street in February, falling onto the powerlines, across the walkway and hitting a nearby house. We’ve also had trees and tree debris regularly falling into the stream, which can cause isolated flooding.

“It’s become a safety issue for the community, as well as a costly one, with ongoing clean-up impacting ratepayers.”

In February, a large gum tree fell across Sala Street during rough weather, closing the road and trail through the trees, and hitting powerlines and near-by property.

Rotorua Lakes Council assessed the trees to identify which posed the biggest risk, based on their size, proximity to other trees and/or their age.

Rick Todd, Scion Operations Lead, says many of the trees that will be removed are exotic eucalyptus varieties (commonly known as ‘gum’), which can be prone to falling in high winds.

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“Gums are not deep-rooted trees, so can become top heavy once they reach a certain size. High-risk and potential risk trees will be identified for removal, to ensure the area is safe for many years to come.

“Some of these trees are significant as they were once planted for scientific monitoring. If we identify a tree as being the only kind of its species in the area, we will look to capture its seed for preservation.”

The removal of these exotic trees provides an exciting replanting opportunity, extending the native planting work that has been carried out upstream.

“Our aspiration is to see a resilient and thriving forest surrounding Puarenga Stream, bringing health and wellbeing to our community, the ecosystems and the environment,” says Mr Todd.

Works are scheduled to begin on Monday, July 3 (weather permitting) and will take approximately four weeks to complete. During this time, there will be minor disruption to those passing through the area.

While no trees will be felled onto Sala Street, there will be intermittent road closures as a precautionary measure. Traffic management will be in place and detours will be clearly sign posted.

The trail through the trees may also be closed at times and this will be sign posted. If the walkway is open, pedestrians and cyclists are advised to take care when travelling through the area as there may be heavy machinery at work nearby.

The project team is asking anyone travelling through or near the area to plan their journey in advance.

If people need to find an alternative cycling or walking route, they should check out the Rotorua Lakes Council website:

If the public have any questions or concerns, please direct them to either Bay of Plenty Regional Council on 0800 884 880 or Rotorua Lakes Council on 07 348 4199.

© Scoop Media

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