Battle grounds of Timaru - Chaucer St and Grasmere St. Where next?
If there's a sure-fire way to get the neighbours talking, simply suggest you would like to cut down a row of established trees.
Early this year it was the turn of Chaucer St, where residents put to the Timaru District Council a desire to chop down the 50-year-old plane trees in their street.
The reasons were mainly safety, with examples given of branches falling off, but there were also problems with the roots.
Council officers agreed that the trees should come down, but councillors disagreed, saying the trees added beauty and should stay. Instead, some root barriers should be installed.
Then, this week, Grasmere St residents progressed down a similar track. Actually, some Grasmere St residents . . .
They are fed up with picking up leaves from the council's trees, and want them either cut down or heavily pruned.
Council staff are forming an opinion.
Other Grasmere St residents have already formed theirs, and they are not happy. Leave the trees alone, they have written, the leaves are an issue for only a few weeks each year and the trees were there before most of the present owners. So there.
They are good points, as is that made by council parks boss Bill Steans that the wider community has a vested interest in the trees, particularly those in Grasmere St, because it is a well-used link road.
Think Grasmere St, think trees. Same as Craigie Ave, and Memorial Ave, and Maltby Ave, and . . . think Geraldine, the whole town; Twizel too; Temuka's redwoods.
And when we think of them it is in positive terms, they look good, they add character and identity.
If you happen to live in a tree-lined street then, is that just too bad? And you should you put up with it for the good of the district?
To a degree, yes. In most cases, the trees were there first, they add value to properties there, and there is a wider benefit.
But there are some provisos.
One is safety, and the council has to be prepared to accept responsibility should falling branches cause injury or damage.
And if the town receives a wider benefit, the town (ratepayers) should be willing to pay for more regular cleanups each autumn.
- © Fairfax NZ News