Council to give native trees to the chainsaw

Last updated 13:27 24/06/2014
historic trees
Stephanie Rangi
CENTURY: The historic trees at Taumarunui’s O’Reilly Cres Scout Den are to be felled.

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A stand of century-old trees in Taumarunui are set for the chop, dividing the community.

The 43 indigenous trees made up of 35 kahikatea and eight totara have been causing issues for surrounding properties for more than 60 years.

The trees, estimated to average about 110 years old, stand near the scout den on the O'Reilly Cres Reserve, shading neighbouring properties and leaving residents complaining of cold, damp homes with mould and moisture on internal walls.

Council chief executive Peter Till said the council had been getting requests to fell the trees since the late 1950s and their size also posed a risk from windfall branches and to power lines. He said clearance was the best option. A consent application to do so was in the pipeline.

"Thinning the trees had additional problems as the roots of the trees are intertwined and taking some out could affect the stability of the others."

"The kahikatea . . . are currently only at between 20 and 35 metres and so around half their mature height. We would have even bigger problems in the future."

However, many Taumarunui residents said they were a pleasant addition to the reserve.

"I think it's disgusting they are cutting them down. The wildlife is suffering. We need them for the kids," said Alexandra Thomkinson.

"They were too quick in their decision to cut them all down," said Raewyn Vanstone.

Till said some of the timber would be made available to the Maori Council for carving and the rest put up for tender to pay for the removal cost. Smaller, replacement native trees would be planted.

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