A row of pohutukawa trees have been felled on Papamoa Beach Rd to make way for a roundabout.
About 12 pohutukawa donated in 2002 were chopped down and mulched on Thursday.
Dermatologist Paul Salmon, who donated the trees, said he only found out the trees were felled that day.
"Obviously I'm gutted," Dr Salmon said.
"The trees were a great amenity and provided shade for pedestrians."
He said the trees had been looked after carefully for the first few years after they had been planted.
"In removing the trees the clock has been set back 10 to 15 years. Trees take time and they are hard to grow at the beach."
Papamoa resident Michael Luker saw the trees being felled Thursday morning. He had been passing by the trees ever since they were planted.
He said he did not want to see the area where the trees had once stood.
"I won't be able to drive that way, I didn't even drive home that way last night, I just didn't want to see it.
"Once the trees are gone, they're gone."
Tauranga City Council communications adviser Marcel Currin said the developer had a consent to build in the area along Papamoa Beach Rd.
"A roundabout needs to be built to enable safe access into the development.
"Council approved the roundabout work but had not yet given formal permission to remove the trees, so the opportunity to give advance notice of the work has been missed."
Frasers Property development manager Kranish Reddy, the company which felled the trees, said Frasers planted the 12 pohutukawa trees 10 years ago, "with a view to later removing them to make way for the final stage of the Coast Papamoa Beach development".
"The trees were removed this week with approval from Tauranga City Council to accommodate a new roundabout, footpaths and services."
He said the first preference was to relocate the trees, but were advised the trees would not survive.
"Frasers Property takes its commitment to the environment and preserving Papamoa's natural beauty very seriously and will be replacing the trees along Papamoa Beach Rd with 15 mature trees, including 12 pohutukawas, over the next nine months, as part of the next and final stage of the subdivision."