The legal bid to review a planned removal of six plane trees in central Wanganui remains in limbo.

A judicial review had been threatened when the Wanganui District Council stuck to its plans to upgrade a section of Taupo Quay, between Victoria Ave and Market Place.

The upgrade means at least six plane trees - some thought to be at least 120 years old - will be removed, and that prompted an immediate protest.

Council set up a working group of interested people and came up with a number of options for the council. However, after considering those and hearing from council officers, the council decided to stay with its plan.


The trees will go to make way for underground infrastructure such as water, stormwater and gas pipes as well as power cables.

Opponents argued that alternative routes could be found for the services without sacrificing the trees.

While council stuck to its guns, it also resolved to get more information from power authority Powerco about its need to lay cables along the Quay and a commitment that that work would continue beyond Taupo Quay. Two of the plane trees earmarked for removal are directly outside Marie McKay's home in Taupo Quay. Ms McKay has been an outspoken critic of the council's plan.

Mayor Annette Main told the Chronicle yesterday that she and council CEO Kevin Ross had met barrister Jamie Waugh and his clients, Ms McKay and Cath Watson, about the judicial review. Ms Main said they were told council would wait for a "formal response" from Powerco before making a decision on how to proceed.

"An undertaking was made that the trees will not be taken down without providing reasonable notice to the lawyer," she said.

Ms Main said they were still to hear from Powerco, although said she was expecting to have heard by now.

"What we've asked for is information about the need for the work to be done, and we've agreed to wait until we get that information.

"I'm particularly interested in Powerco's whole infrastructure needs, not just what they want to do on Taupo Quay.


"We've asked them for much more comprehensive information of what alternatives there may be and how critical they regard this work," she said.

A judicial review, by a judge of the High Court, determines whether a decision or action is unauthorised or invalid.

At the heart of the issue is the fact the council invited those concerned with the plan to offer some alternatives and members of that group believed a compromise had been brokered that could have saved three or four trees.

Ms Watson had said earlier that there was no indication to the group of any change of intent in the options they put to the council and on that basis they had felt no reason to be concerned. But by the time group members found it was on the council's January 27 agenda it was too late to apply to address that meeting.

She said they believed council officers did not follow the council's own policy and notice was not given of the intention to remove the trees as required by its tree policy.