Wharf trees to be axed

A dozen mature pohutukawa are set to get the chop at Hinemoa Park in Birkenhead.

Public notices are about to go out on the decision to cut down the grove of pohutukawa in the park by Birkenhead Wharf.

North Shore City Council officers say the trees are in poor health and are a hazard to cars parked at the wharf.

They have received resource consent for the work on the trees.

The felling is described as a first step in plans to cut down a number of dangerous trees in the park.

“The limbs are breaking off. Cars are getting damaged on the foreshore area. It was a foregone conclusion that they had to come out. They’re now dangerous to park users,” says the council’s Birkenhead and Northcote parks officer Bob Wallace.

“There’s a general support for what’s being done.”

But some residents are upset at the plans to remove the trees, which they say are an icon of area.

Birkenhead Residents Association member Carol Scott says cutting down the trees will have a “devastating” effect on the seaside park.

Residents haven’t been consulted enough on the felling and many still don’t know about it, she says.

“Because it’s going to have such a devastating effect, it’s council’s responsibility to engage the public. People should have been made more aware of this,” she says.

“I’ve got people coming up to me saying ‘surely it’s not true’.”

Birkenhead arborist Gary Claxton says the felling plans are generally understandable, but could be toned down.

He has recommended council officers keep two of the trees and put a better plan in place to manage their health.

“There’s going to be discontent, but on the whole I thought the decision is pretty good, with the exception of a couple of trees.”

Public meetings are scheduled this month on the felling plans, says Mr Wallace.

He expects to see a the trees come out over the course of two days in May.

Parks at the wharf will be closed off while the felling is going on, meaning ferry commuters will have to park on side streets off Hinemoa St.

Credits

Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times

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