Amy Wiggins

Amy is the lifestyles reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Trees spark heated argument

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Three large pohutukawa trees faced the chopping block during a heated council meeting where people clashed - but only one will come down.

A handful of passionate submitters spoke to the Tauranga City Council tree management subcommittee both for and against the removal of one tree outside 2 Second Ave and two trees outside 10 Second Ave yesterday.

Councillors agreed to more pruning of the tree outside the property at No2 but the other two trees caused much debate.

Acting committee chairman Murray Guy used his casting vote to break the deadlock and decided the larger of the two trees outside No10 would be removed.

Second Ave resident and property owner Tony Mangus told the committee of the numerous times debris from the large pohutukawa trees blocked the drains on the street and caused water to flood down his driveway and into his garage during storms.

"No matter how often we clean, during the rain and storms, the debris keeps collecting," he said.

Not only was flooding a problem but the trees caused shading which meant in winter little sunlight could get into his house after about 10am. "This morning the house was like an icebox," he told councillors.

Caroline Sparks told the committee she bought one of the units at 10 Second Ave in 2008 but was forced to move out the next year because the tree caused her health to deteriorate to the extent she was suffering from anxiety attacks.

She admitted to being aware of the trees when she bought the property but only discovered the problems they caused during the first heavy downpour after she moved in.

"Water from the blocked drains went down the eves and into the cavity and flooded the apartment."

The same thing happened three or four times during the winter and each time she was left to clean up the mess.

The lack of sunlight also caused health issues, she said.

Submitters such as Sandy Scarrow, who owns Fruition Horticulture on First Ave, argued more management may be needed but the trees should not be cut down. "To get rid of the trees, that's a real shame," she told the Bay of Plenty Times. "They talk about the trees causing flooding. My view is deal with the effects that cause the flooding it's the leaves."

Councillors Guy and Larry Baldock voted in favour of removing the large tree outside No10 but Mayor Stuart Crosby and Councillor Terry Molloy disagreed.

Cr Guy said he did not believe more pruning would have been enough to solve the issues caused by the trees. They were so old and large they could not be effectively managed for much longer, he said.

Mr Crosby said he supported a plan similar to the one for the tree outside No2. "They are very significant trees on our landscape. They are not a few minor trees. They are maybe 60-years-old," he said. "With regard to Ms Sparks, her flooding issue could be fixed it's a mechanical issue. With regard to lighting, that could be managed by pruning."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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