OK to axe native trees on Waikanae property, says KCDCBy Alan Tristram
The Kapiti Coast District Council has told a Waikanae couple they can trim or cut down ngaio native trees bordering their property — because they were planted rather than natural bush and as such are not protected under the current District Plan.
It’s a somewhat contentious move, as meanwhile the KCDC is proceeding to prosecute an elderly Otaki couple, Peter and Diana Standen, for cutting and trimming native trees on their property.
The Waikanae couple, Nance and John Buckley, understood they couldn’t trim or modify the trees without resource consent. But Andrew Guerin, Council’s Resource Consents and Compliance Manager, says that is not the case.
Mr Guerin said after visiting the property:
“What I observed on the property are several ngaio trees along the boundary, all in a straight line, equally spaced and of the same age. I advised the owners that the trees were most likely planted rather than naturally regenerated. As such they can be removed or modified without resource consent.”
Some ngaios protected, some not
Mr Guerin says ngaio trees are naturally occurring on the Kāpiti Coast and those trees are protected under the current District Plan.
However, he says, he has no doubt the trees on the Buckley’s property have been planted, possibly as a shelter belt.
“I am sure it was a relief for the Buckleys to know the trees are not protected, which gives them more options in managing their property.
“The last thing Council wants to do is to discourage people from planting native trees because they are concerned that in 10 years they will need resource consent to trim or modify them.”
‘Confusion in the community’
Mr Guerin says it is clear there is some confusion in the community, particularly in light of widespread publicity in the past couple of weeks about what types of trees require resource consent to be felled or modified.
“If people have any doubt, they can contact Council to check the status of their native trees,” he says.
He says Kāpiti residents seeking advice on the “do’s and don’ts” of dealing with trees and native vegetation can get information from the Council website http://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/Planning/Sustainability. Click on the link “Sustaining our environment” to find pages containing downloadable documents and lists of useful links.