Vandals have used the extreme weather which hit the Coromandel in the past week as an opportunity to vandalise trees on public reserves.
Mercury Bay acting area manager Andrew Scobie says the Thames-Coromandel District Council received a call about trees being blown over in Whitianga's Buffalo Beach Reserve.
“However, when we checked it out it was clear to see that it had been cut down. Our local arborist informs us the damage was done will a handsaw and the vandal tried to make it look like they were damaged in the storm.
“It's extremely saddening to see such a wilful act of vandalism.”
In the past few months the district council has discovered several incidents of trees being destroyed or poisoned. In Wyuna Bay vandals cut down three native manuka trees in the reserve next to the walkway, while a 30-year-old Norfolk pine was poisoned on Buffalo Beach earlier this year.
A complaint of wilful damage has been lodged with the police in this latest case during the storm.
“We want to make it clear such behaviour is not going to be ignored.”
The Coromandel is one of the most scenic areas in New Zealand due to its dramatic topography and coastline, its native forests, and its relaxed coastal settlements. Trees are an essential element of this character.
A TCDC spokesperson says there is a list of protected trees in the district, which are also called ‘notable trees'.
“Notable Tree means any tree listed in our Heritage Register in the District Plan, some are protected because of their historical significance, age, or cultural value.
“Others, like coastal Pohutukawa trees, preserve the ecosystem around them by preventing erosion.”
For maintenance of these trees, the District Plan specifies people must use a ‘Council Approved Contractor' to do this sort of work, adds the spokesperson.
OPTIONS FOR TREES ON TCDC:
Depending on the tree, species, location and age there are a few things that can be done:
Deadwooding: Most trees are self-pruning and dead wood will drop from the trees, but this does not happen all at once, so by removing wood that is dead, the health of the tree can be improved, more light let through the canopy and possibly improve views.
Crown thinning: This is like deadwooding, but also includes the removal of live wood as well. This may include the removal of branches that have not formed well, may be rubbing against each other, or may be inherently weak. The benefits or the side effects can be similar to deadwooding.
Crown lifting: This is where the canopy is trimmed to lift it higher. This can be done for many reasons, including public safety; for example, if a tree has branches over a footpath at head height there's a risk of injury.
Power lines clearance: This is generally escalated to Powerco's contractors who need to undertake the work due to the hazardous nature of working near live power cables.
If the tree is dead or believed to be threatening life, property or essential services, a council officer will visit the site. The advice of an independent arborist may be sought if the officer believes there is no threat or if there may be objections from other parties to council action about the tree.
For more information contact the Thames-Coromandel District Council's customer service team by calling 07 868 0200, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or to launch a request for service visit: www.tcdc.govt.nz/rfs