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Pine tree has to go: Resident

TAO LIN
Last updated 05:00 17/06/2014
Paul Walker
Tao Lin
LOFTY PROBLEM: Otahuhu resident Paul Walker is getting more concerned about the safety risks posed by the falling branches of a council-protected Norfolk Island pine tree, which he’s been trying to get consent to remove for the past decade.

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It's hard to miss the majestic Norfolk pine tree towering over people, power lines and properties on Station Rd, Otahuhu.

But the owner of the land that the tree sits on wants it gone as he becomes more fearful about the hazards it poses for his family and the public.

Paul Walker has lived at 50 Station Rd since 1999 and has been trying to get the tree cut down for the past 10 years.

The Norfolk pine is protected by Auckland Council as a scheduled tree because it contributes to the pleasantness and attractiveness of the area.

That means resource consent must be given before it can be removed.

Walker has applied for consent in the past but was rejected.

Numerous branches and pine cones have blown off the tree and damaged his house, Walker says.

Broken roof tiles on one occasion cost more than $500 to fix and another $500 was spent on pruning.

Large branches have fallen on the garden and also the berm outside.

"I would be responsible for damage done by the tree," he says.

That includes liability for any deaths or injuries of people.

Walker says the streets around his house are very busy, with Otahuhu Primary School, St Andrew's Christian Preschool and businesses nearby.

"Auckland Council should accept responsibility for it," Walker says.

Council resource consenting and compliance manager Mark White says Walker's consent application was declined because the tree was in good health and there was no evidence it was causing damage to property or risk to people at the time.

White says Walker will need to get resource consent if the situation has changed and he should also contact the council's heritage arborist to discuss his concerns.

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- Manukau Courier

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