The axe is about to fall on trees adjudged defective in a Mauriceville domain despite having a risk of harm to pedestrians from falling branches and suchlike of one in 500,000.
The radiata pine trees that line the entranceway to Clarke Memorial Domain, along with some macrocarpa trees, have been earmarked for felling since an assessment in 2012.
According to senior Masterton District Council officers the trees now targeted for felling were at that time found to be in a "very mature state, with considerable deadwood and wind damage evident".
The price to remove the trees was $12,830 but opposition from some people led to a public meeting being held recently, attended by 50 residents.
Thirty people voted in favour of having the trees felled, and of the remainder 10 people wanted them to stay.
It was also agreed that council staff and residents would form a working group to develop a management plan for the reserve, which has been subjected to an upgrade project that has seen a new water tank installed and funding to have a new power connection to the pavilion.
Councillors will make the final decision on the fate of the trees tomorrow, with community facilities manager Andrea Jackson having put forward two courses of action for councillors to consider.
One is to vote to fell the trees and replant with "a more suitable species" in spring. The other option is to leave the trees and deadwood them when necessary to ensure any risk is "tolerable", along with taking all practical measures to minimise the risks.
Ms Jackson said the latter option would involve initially spending about $3500 and from then about $2000 a year in annual maintenance.
In outlining the background to the issue, Ms Jackson said the 2012 assessment had looked at the location of the trees right next to the main entrance with large boughs extending over the pathway, and "seeing dead-wooding and branch removal as a short-term solution, at considerable cost, had recommended we remove the trees and replace with a more desirable species".
Ms Jackson's recommendation to councillors is to go ahead with the felling, and this is the expected outcome of tomorrow's meeting.
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