Plans to fell what are claimed to be dangerous trees at the entrance to Mauriceville's Clarke Memorial Domain is "a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut", says Mauriceville farmer Alan Stuart.
Mr Stuart, who campaigned against Masterton District Council's plans to fell the trees last year, attended a MDC-facilitated meeting on Monday night at the Kopuaranga Hall to decide the fate of the 12 trees, 10 pine, and two macrocarpas.
More than 50 people attended the public meeting and a vote of three to one was cast to get rid of the trees, which act as a shelterbelt and hold up the bank at the sole entrance of the Domain.
The council had already let a tender for the trees to be felled, claiming the aged trees are at the end of their life and are dangerous, but Mr Stuart said the MDC-commissioned arborist's report, which was held back until the night of the meeting, proved otherwise.
"The vote to fell the trees flies in the face of the arborist's report in which the arborist suggests the risk of those trees to humans is tolerable and manageable," Mr Stuart said.
"The district council made the conscious decision to hold back the report until the night of the meeting, which gave people no time at all to read and digest the findings of it.
"If people had had time to read the report, which was just recently done, they may have voted otherwise, instead of listening to the fear-mongering that was offered up on Monday night."
In the report, the trees were determined by arborist Nick Ellis as a "tolerable risk", with recommendations made to remove the deadwood throughout the trees.
"The trees currently serve a purpose as a wind-break to the domain, as well as offering some ecological value to the area, playing host to a range of epiphytes," Mr Ellis said.
He said the roots of the trees were "no doubt" providing a valuable barrier to further erosion of the bank near the sole entranceway to the Domain, but were also nearing the end of their "useful life expectancy".
Findings in the report confirmed the trees could be retained for another 10-20 years with ongoing maintenance.
Masterton District Council spokesman Sam Rossiter-Stead said it would cost $12,830 to fell the trees. He said it would cost a few thousand dollars for new planting.
Mr Stuart, who has lived in the Mauriceville area for 40 years said he can't see the point in cutting out "perfectly functional" trees.
"Once the trees are taken out, the roots will rot and there's a risk that the bank will collapse, which was discussed at the meeting and the council was bound by the meeting to re-site the road into the domain if it did collapse -- another cost to the ratepayers when that happens."
The fate of the trees will be confirmed at the next MDC meeting, but Mr Stuart said he can't see the decision being anything other than removal "because they've already let the contract for that".
"On the bright side, it was suggested that a management committee be formed of people in the district to manage the grounds in the future," Mr Stuart said.