Golf course's fig tree survives fell attempt

By John Cousins

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A magnificent Moreton Bay fig tree growing near the Omanu Golf Club's 10th green has been allowed to live, despite a determined bid by nearby residents and the club's board to fell it.

Its survival was settled this week by the Tauranga City Council, which was unconvinced by arguments to fell the tree growing on the boundary of the golf course, beside Matapihi Rd.

Leading the charge to have it felled was neighbouring resident Bruce Fea, who launched a petition on the basis that the tree's large fallen leaves were a hazard in wet weather to users of the pavement underneath.

The petition was organised after the council had agreed to cut back the largest branches that hung across the road.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

Mr Fea said felling the tree would gladden the hearts of many golfers who strayed into the root system or under the leaves and spent valuable time locating balls.

The board and superintendent of the golf club agreed with Mr Fea's sentiments and instructed its arborist to fell the tree but they were over-ruled by the council.

Opposing the felling was Bill Kerr, another golfer who lived near the tree.

He complained that the club's board had made the decision without first asking members.

Mr Kerr said that he made a point of asking his fellow golfers how they felt about the tree at the 10th green. None had supported it being felled.

He said the tree's location meant that few golf balls ended up in the vicinity of the tree. Lots of other trees that shed their leaves had a greater effect on golfers looking for balls.

The only councillor to support felling the tree was Larry Baldock, who had always envisaged that the policy on felling trees referred to parks, reserves and roadsides - not golf courses where the council leased the land.

While the issue of safety was not huge, he said it removed the right for the club to deal with the land it leased - although he wanted the felling tagged to consultation with members.

In another tree decision, the council unanimously agreed to fell a silver birch outside 127 Haukore St, Hairini.

A petition from neighbours complained that the tree shaded properties during the winter, the seeds blocked spoutings and meant windows had to be closed in the summer, affected asthmatics and made walking on the footpath and adjacent steep walkway dangerously slippery on wet days.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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