Disputed Box Hill pine tree felled

Box Hill's besieged heritage pine tree was chopped down today and will now be used as fire wood.

A Wellington family had been trying to remove the norfolk pine from its property since September 2010, saying it had become dangerous.

The tree was also subject to three attacks last year, including being attacked with an axe.

Six arborists began removing the tree today.

The removal comes after the Flannigan family lodged a resource consent application for it to be removed after it started to shed cones and branches, preventing their children from playing in the front yard.

The application, lodged in December 2010, was denied and the family then lodged an appeal to the Environmental Court.

Wellington City Council Compliance Team Leader Bob Barber said the appeal was passed by Environment Judge Craig Thompson on May 20 as "the longevity of the tree could no longer be insured".

Richard MacLean from the Wellington City Council said the council was disappointed by the removal.

"We were never happy about the situation.

"The ring barking of the tree was a pretty low blow."

Neighbour Jean Cartmell said she did not know what had happened to the tree but "if it was going to fall it would fall on me".

She said she had received a letter less than a week ago saying the pine was going to be removed today and that the path way and road would be closed.

"I'm sorry because I like trees but it should have never been put in the garden, norfolk pines belong in the forest."

She said she was worried branches could come off and fall onto her property in a storm.

"It was too big, if it was going to fall down it would land straight on me."

Arborists said the removal of the tree would take a day and a half and the trunk would be used for fire wood.

The Dominion Post