Trees have a unique place in our environment. Without them, human life as we know it would not exist. Trees conserve water, make our air breathable, absorb air pollution, support our slopes and form the hub of enormous underground micro-environments that strengthen soil and foster insect life.

Latest News

Open Letter re Removal of Scheduled Pecan Trees at 121 Avondale Road

Open Letter re Removal of Scheduled Pecan Trees at 121 Avondale Road

To: His Worship the Mayor Phil Goff, CEO Stephen Town cc: Chris Darby, Chair Planning Committee Penny Hulse, Chair Community and Environment Committee Ross Clow, Whau Ward Councillor Tracy Mulholland, Chair Whau Local Board Media Sunday 10 September 2017   Removal of Scheduled Pecan Trees at 121 Avondale Road The Tree Council and local residents… More

CLOSE THE RANGES TO SAVE WAITAKERE KAURI

CLOSE THE RANGES TO SAVE WAITAKERE KAURI

The Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and Forest & Bird stand with Te Kawerau a Maki in calling for a rāhui and closure of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park in response to the monitoring figures from Auckland Council’s latest survey of kauri dieback infection.   The results from the Waitakere Ranges have confirmed their… More

Category Archives: Latest News

Open Letter re Removal of Scheduled Pecan Trees at 121 Avondale Road

Open Letter re Removal of Scheduled Pecan Trees at 121 Avondale Road

To: His Worship the Mayor Phil Goff, CEO Stephen Town

cc: Chris Darby, Chair Planning Committee

Penny Hulse, Chair Community and Environment Committee

Ross Clow, Whau Ward Councillor

Tracy Mulholland, Chair Whau Local Board

Media

Sunday 10 September 2017

 

Removal of Scheduled Pecan Trees at 121 Avondale Road

The Tree Council and local residents are aghast that due to a mistake by Auckland Council staff three rare Pecan Trees that were listed on the Heritage Schedule in the Unitary Plan have been removed from private property at 121 Avondale Road.

We are advised by Ian Smallburn, Manager Resource Consents that “Two groups of pecan trees at 121 Avondale Road are scheduled as notable trees in the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Recently we were approached by the property owner to check if the trees were scheduled. While the trees are listed in the Auckland Unitary Plan text at the correct address, an error in our online maps meant that the trees were inadvertently recorded as being on a neighbouring property.

Subsequently, we have provided the property owner with incorrect information, advising them that the trees were not on the schedule, when in fact they were. As a result of our error, three trees have been removed. We deeply regret this matter and are checking all our processes and practices. There are two remaining scheduled trees which are part of the group located on the adjoining property.

Examples of mature Pecans in the Auckland area are extremely rare and this is yet another example where protected trees have been removed for no good reason. In this case it is an error of advice to the landowner, but The Tree Council is getting regular complaints of protected trees being illegally removed in SEAs, on private land protected by consent conditions and in reserves, where Council is not taking any enforcement action against the perpetrators. In addition consents are granted non-notified as a matter of course for trees protected in SEAs and on public land to be removed with no public process.

There needs to be an urgent attitude change within Auckland Council towards the protection of these significant urban assets, which provide our city and its residents with so many services and benefits. The Mayor has signalled that trees are important for our city with his laudable plan to plant a million new trees, but this policy looks farcical in the face of the loss of thousands of mature trees every year, many of them protected, with Council’s consent. It could take 100 years for any of the Mayor’s new saplings to start delivering the scale of benefits and services currently provided by these existing protected trees.

The Tree Council recently proposed a project to label scheduled trees in the Whau and all other Local Board areas in order to raise the public awareness that these specific trees are important and valuable to our community. It is highly likely that this mistake would not have happened and removal would not have taken place had the Pecan trees been clearly labeled as scheduled. We urge Auckland Council to support this proposal and label all our 6000 remaining scheduled heritage trees so that this can never happen again.

We also ask that Council discusses with the Avondale community providing some sort of memorial to commemorate the history being lost in what was Auckland’s market garden suburb and plants a grove of new Pecan trees in Avondale as some compensation to the community for the loss of these specific valuable assets.

We believe that this case exposes that the schedule and Council’s mapping is inaccurate and therefore mistakes are inevitable. We call for an immediate on-the-ground audit of the Schedule of Notable Trees and for the electronic version of the schedule to be made searchable and crossed checked against the Unitary Plan text and maps so that errors are corrected in the upcoming plan change and mistakes like this cannot happen again in future.

We also request that a new system is implemented by Council whereby the public can report or check issues relating to urban trees easily without having to deal with a number of different departments.

We have a meeting booked to discuss enforcement issues relating to trees with Councillor Chris Darby and we would like to see a positive response within Council’s Planning, Consents and Enforcement Departments towards the protection rather than the systematic removal of trees throughout our city in future. Auckland will be a poorer place for everyone without our remarkable urban forest and little enough of it now has any level of legal protection. We need to ensure we keep what we have left for future generations.

Kind regards

Sean Freeman

Chair, The Tree Council

CLOSE THE RANGES TO SAVE WAITAKERE KAURI

CLOSE THE RANGES TO SAVE WAITAKERE KAURI

The Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and Forest & Bird stand with Te Kawerau a Maki in calling for a rāhui and closure of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park in response to the monitoring figures from Auckland Council’s latest survey of kauri dieback infection.   The results from the Waitakere Ranges have confirmed their… Continue Reading

Hurstmere Rd Pohutukawa Saved

The Tree Council has been notified that consent has been refused to remove a scheduled pohutukawa tree at 270 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna. We made submissions and attended the hearing on 8 June 2017. The tree is one of a group of four scheduled pohutukawa at the property. The commissioners agreed that the tree and its… Continue Reading

Plant movement must stop

Plant movement must stop

The Tree Council is calling for the Ministry for Primary Industries to use its powers under the Biosecurity Act and implement a temporary ban on all plant movement across New Zealand to prevent the spread of Myrtle Rust. “In order to contain the disease it is vital for the current outbreaks in Kerikeri, Taranaki, Te… Continue Reading

Warkworth Macrocarpa Saved

The Tree Council has received the decision refusing the application by Warkworth Investments Ltd to remove a scheduled macrocarpa tree from 41 Queen St and 14-16 Neville St, Warkworth. We made submissions opposing the removal and attended the hearing in November 2016. This tree is a member of a group of scheduled trees that form a… Continue Reading

Graham’s Bush Appeal Resolved

Graham’s Bush Appeal Resolved

In a small gully in South Auckland is a botanical gem, a real taonga, a fragment of the lowland podocarp-broadleaf forest that once covered the Manukau lowlands. This fragment is called Graham’s Bush and has been owned and cared for by the late Graham Cheesman and his family for the last 17 years. Thanks to… Continue Reading

Bus Tour of Auckland’s Heritage Trees

Bus Tour of Auckland’s Heritage Trees

Learn about the unique history and values of some of Auckland’s finest trees in their historic settings on The Tree Council’s bus tour, part of the Auckland Heritage Festival. It will be led by Penny Cliffin, a former Senior Lecturer in the Dept of Landscape Architecture at Unitec, and Dr Mike Wilcox, author of Auckland’s… Continue Reading

Appeal of Graham’s Bush Decision

Appeal of Graham’s Bush Decision

Environmental advocacy group The Tree Council has lodged an appeal with the Environment Court against the decision by Auckland Transport to accept the Notices of Requirement recommended by Commissioners on behalf of the consent authority for the Redoubt Road-Mill Road corridor upgrade. “The Tree Council was disappointed that the Commissioners accepted Auckland Transport’s proposals without… Continue Reading

Appeal on Fowld’s Park

Appeal on Fowld’s Park

The Tree Council has joined the appeal by the Friends of Fowld’s Park Inc of the decision of Auckland Council to install an artificial turf with retaining wall and fencing at Fowld’s Park in Western Springs. The proposal will result in the removal of a number of trees, significant alteration of the park’s landscape design… Continue Reading


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