DOC to shift storm-damaged timber

Last updated 05:00 11/08/2014

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The Department of Conservation (DOC) plans to remove storm-damaged timber on the West Coast that was cut down or moved before a parliamentary bill was passed.

About 20,000 hectares of forest were destroyed by former tropical Cyclone Ita in April.

In June, Parliament passed the West Coast Wind-blown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill allowing removal of that native timber from conservation land.

However, some damaged trees were removed or cut down urgently to restore road access or to ensure public safety before the law was passed.

The act cannot be applied retrospectively so DOC is now seeking to recover the timber under the Conservation Act.

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith considered using the provision to remove trees damaged by Ita but was advised doing so could bring the risk of a judicial review. A second storm in late May brought down one large rimu tree on a Pike River Mine amenity building and a further seven trees were felled because they posed a safety risk, a DOC said.

She said there was about 94 cubic metres of rimu from the Revell Terrace Amenity Area that DOC intended to remove.

Proceeds from timber sales will be used for conservation purposes.

Submissions on the plans close on September 30.

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