Western Heights residents are welcoming plans to remove 23 "really big" eucalyptus trees from a local reserve.

The work at Steeles Lane Reserve is just one of several tree felling projects planned for the city in the coming weeks and months.

In a statement, Rotorua Lakes Council sport and recreation manager Rob Pitkethley said the council had an ongoing tree maintenance programme "which has continued alongside work to deal with about 100 trees that were damaged or came down during the January storm".

"The number of trees affected by the storm was unprecedented and there is still some clean-up underway. Some of the work has been incorporated into the scheduled tree maintenance programme."


Read more: Dozens of trees to be removed around Rotorua in coming weeks

"Dead standing" and leaning trees adjacent to Long Mile and Tarawera roads were felled yesterday - a mix of final clearing of storm damaged trees and scheduled felling.

Removal of the 23 trees from Steeles Lane Reserve - which will cost $18,500 - begins on Monday.

 Eucalyptus trees in Steeles Lane Reserve will be chopped down from next week. Photo/Ben Fraser
Eucalyptus trees in Steeles Lane Reserve will be chopped down from next week. Photo/Ben Fraser

The council said that work was in response to "requests from the community to have the trees removed due to concerns raised by the community, especially the surrounding neighbourhood, about safety, leaf fall and shading".

A portion of the reserve will be closed for about five weeks.

It was brought forward to be incorporated with work at Bloomfield Gully, which was scheduled for late February/early March but began about two weeks earlier due to contractors being available sooner, the council said.

It was not brought forward as a result of January's incident where a large oak tree fell and killed local woman Trish Butterworth, the council stated.

Jenni Johnson lives across the road from the Steeles Lane Reserve.

She said she had "always thought the trees were really big and they would fall in big winds".

Johnson said she saw a lot of big branches on the ground when she walked her baby through the park, and twice in the last five months she had seen branches fallen onto fences.

Neighbour Marla Clarke had similar concerns about "a high risk" of branches falling onto someone.

"They [the trees] needed to come down before winter, before something blows onto kids or houses. They are dangerous."

A Western Heights High School spokesperson said the council arranged to tape off part of the school fields during the felling.

"Staff are out every break and they will ensure nobody is in the way."

Replacement planting would take place after the removals.

The smallest branches and other debris will be mulched, large logs will be sold to offset the cost of the work and all other wood will be made available to the public for firewood.

Other tree maintenance and felling scheduled for the coming months includes ongoing crown reduction work on liquid ambers in Amohia, Haupapa and Pukuatua streets, which started about 18 months ago.

Eucalypts in Sala St, behind Palmer's Garden Centre, will also be felled. The council said several of a large group of trees there were damaged in January and were removed post-storm.

It said assessment of the remaining 40 trees in that area was under way to ascertain how many would need to be removed.

Trees currently being felled on Sunset Rd were not being done by the council, a spokeswoman confirmed.