For the past century, Pāpāmoa Domain has sat in the shade of more than 80 pine trees. Some stand more than 25m tall on spindly trunks. Every Thursday over summer hundreds of people filter between them making a beeline to their favourite food truck at Dinner in the Domain. Beachgoers also enjoy their shade - somewhat of a rarity in coastal Pāpāmoa. An incident with one of the trees at the peak of summer, however, has resulted in a Tauranga City Council review that found some of the trees could pose a risk to the public. Samantha Motion reports.
Ten 100-year-old pine trees will be cut down in Pāpāmoa Domain after one fell on a car in peak summer.
Mark Smith, parks and recreation manager at the Tauranga City Council, said the council had an arboriculturalist do a condition report on the 82 pine trees in the domain after the January 28 incident.
At the time it was reported the tree snapped and fell on two parked cars. No one was injured.
Smith said the arboriculturalist found several pines showing signs of "potential failure".
"We are proactively removing these trees prior to any potential public hazard."
The removed trees - the tallest of them 28m - would be replaced with an as-yet-undetermined coastal native species that would be at least 1.8m high when planted.
The rest of the trees would be pruned.
According to council records, the domain's pines were planted in the early 1900s.
There are 50 in the main east of the Bluebiyou restaurant and 30 in three groups around the rest of the domain.
They are not protected.
The work will be done as part of a four-month council project, started this month, to move the road in the domain, improve the footpaths and create more carparks.
The work is being done in advance of the new Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club's $5.2 million rescue base build, expected to start near the end of winter.
Club president Andrew Hitchfield said some trees would need to be removed for the build.
He appreciated the ambience the pines provided but said as Pāpāmoa grew more people were using the domain and it was right to consider the safety risks.
He said people who saw the tree fall on the cars told him it was "bloody lucky" no one was inside.
Papamoa Beach Resort owner Bruce Crosby said the domain was "synonymous with pine trees" but the safety risks with the old, top-heavy specimens were clear.
He had seen whole trees downed and big branches flung all over the area in storms.
He reckoned there were enough pines that people would not notice some being replaced.
Rachelle Duffy, director of Little Big Events, which hosts the weekly Dinner in the Domain food market each summer, said in five years she had never had any issues with the trees.
Duffy said she was "always pro-trees" up to the point they became a safety hazard.
"They are part of the landscape and what makes the domain, the domain.
"It's such a beautiful space because of the trees."
She hoped the council would talk to groups who used the space for events before replanting to avoid issues in the future with poor positioning.
A Pāpāmoa resident of more than 40 years, Rosemarie Turley, said the trees were a danger.
"They have been dangerous for a long time. When a storm hits it's quite amazing. If one goes over on the road it could be really bad."