Neighbours fight over trees

02:28, Feb 17 2009
STOP THE CHOP: Cherry Barber says oaks next to her house attract birds and provide filtered sunlight in summer.

A battle to save three big oak trees has pitted a neighbourhood against the family of a prominent conservationist and councillor.

Residents of Belle Vue Ave in Northcote Pt are campaigning to save three big oaks and other trees.

They would be felled under a subdivision proposed by a family trust associated with long-term North Shore City councillor and environmental campaigner Tony Holman.

Neighbour Cherry Barber says the oaks are an attractive feature of the heritage area neighbourhood.

"We bought in this suburb because it’s a heritage area and you get mature trees," she says.

"It’s not like Albany where it’s bare ground.


"Mr Holman is against other people doing anything with their trees.

"Now it’s a different story."

Mr Holman’s wife Dinah Holman is asking to remove the oaks, cabbage trees and a karaka to make room for a two-house subdivision on behalf of the Holman family trust.

The application is a non-notified resource consent, meaning the area’s residents could have no say in the decision.

It was lodged on December 17, with a hearing date yet to be set by council.

The application has upset Mrs Barber and other residents, who say they should be given a say on what happens to the trees.

They are upset it was lodged so close to Christmas, when many people were going away on holiday.

A meeting for those opposing the felling attracted 22 people on January 16.

Some expressed disappointment at what they call inappropriate tactics employed by the Holman trust, says Mrs Barber.

"By putting a non-notified consent application in on December 17, people don’t know about it and it affects a lot of the neighbourhood.

"It’s the way it’s being done that is bothering us."

Mrs Holman says she will let the resource consents take their course and is not interested in debating the issue through the media.

But she handed out flyers quoting "misinformation" on the felling to all those who attended the January 16 meeting. It says the oaks are affected by a disease killing trees all over Auckland, which is most likely airborne.

Any suggestion Mr Holman is getting special treatment because he is a councillor is nonsense, the statement says.

He is standing aside completely from the application, it says.

The Holman name has long been associated with fights to preserve North Shore’s environment.

Mr Holman chairs North Shore City Council’s community services and parks committee and has been an advocate for conservation causes.

He and Mrs Holman were leading campaigners for the establishment of the newly created 36.7 hectare Chelsea Park

North Shore Times