Roadside trees risk chop

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 19/02/2011
Paul Wright
ROBYN EDIE/The Southland Times

CHOP CHOP: The Invercargill City Council has told Moore Rd resident Paul Wright to remove about 30 native lemonwood trees he planted on the roadside outside his West Plains property a year ago.

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An Invercargill city councillor who illegally planted shrubs on the roadside outside his property can expect a visit from council staff any day.

Cr Lloyd Esler, who lives in Otatara, yesterday said he had planted shrubbery on the roadside frontage to beautify it.

However, council roading manager Tom Greenwood said people had to ask the council before planting on its land. Roadside trees could create hazards for motorists, while the foliage could grow into power lines. It was also dangerous to dig on council land because of underground cables, he said.

With Mr Esler's plantings pointed out to Mr Greenwood by The Southland Times yesterday, the council had a duty to investigate, he said.

The council was also investigating other roadside plantings that did not have council permission.

If the council was happy with Mr Esler's shrubs, they could stay, Mr Greenwood said.

"We will have a look at Lloyd's but he lives in a 50kmh area and, if it's soft landscaping, it's not a problem."

Mr Esler said he had never asked because he assumed he was doing the right thing.

"If they have an issue with that they can let me know."

The tree plantings came to light yesterday when Moores Rd resident Paul Wright contacted the Times saying the council had told him to remove about 30 lemonwood trees he had planted a year ago.

He had not sought the council's permission, but said the trees were set back 6m from the road, were planted to beautify the area, and he planned on keeping them trimmed and below power lines.

It was ridiculous the council now wanted him to remove them; the council should be encouraging people to plant trees, he said.

Mr Greenwood believed Mr Wright's trees would eventually be a danger to motorists. If people asked the council first, they could discuss it and find a solution.

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