'Ugly' Picton douglas fir faces the axe

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 11:30 04/12/2012
douglas fir
Jared Nicoll
Time to leave: The Marlborough District Council plans to cut down this douglas fir tree at the Picton Powerhouse Maritime Reserve site in Wairau Rd, following overwhelming support from councillors.

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The Marlborough District Council is removing a 20-year-old douglas fir tree in the Powerhouse Reserve car park in Picton that was labelled a "weed" by a councillor.

Seaport Trust Project co-ordinator Carey White requested the removal of the tree in September because its falling cones created a mess and it blocked light, shading the trust's offices.

It is the only exotic tree among the native plantings in the area.

The council had not received any objections from the community about the tree's removal.

Cr David Oddie said the fact there was no objection did not mean the community cared whether it was removed or not.

The tree was out of place and would only become more troublesome over time, he said.

"The whole riverbank has been planted out with natives and in the middle of it, there's this big fir tree," he said.

The majority of councillors aired similar sentiments about removing the tree.

Cr Geoff Evans said: "The douglas fir tree is regarded as a weed."

"The sooner it goes, the better," Cr Graeme Barsanti said.

Cr Trevor Hook said it was "the wrong tree in the wrong place".

Assets and services committee chairman Cr Graeme Taylor said he was disappointed to see the tree go, but personally believed it should be cut down.

"I'm a tree lover, though I have to tell you that it is ugly."

However, Crs Jessica Bagge and Jenny Andrews opposed the removal.

"That tree was there long before the native plantings and to say it's a weed when - how old is it? - 20 years old, you can't go calling it a weed," Ms Bagge said.

"I think, leave it there."

Mrs Andrews said she agreed with Ms Bagge.

If the tree was removed, the "if it doesn't fit then get rid of it" excuse would be applied to everything, Mrs Andrews said.

"Don't do it."

Mayor Alistair Sowman also supported the removal of the tree.

"I think it's a bit rich that a couple of Blenheim residents want it maintained when three Picton councillors want it removed, so I'll be supporting Picton councillors."

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- The Marlborough Express

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