Tapanui trees may be trimmed

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Following a serious incident in Queenstown recently in which members of a young family were trapped beneath a large tree, Clutha Mayor Brian Cadogan says more needs to be done to make sure something similar does not happen in the district.

“Trees falling in our district are our responsibility .. as mayor and as councillors that weighs heavily on our conscience.”

At a West Otago Community Board meeting last week, concerns were raised about the safety of certain tall trees in Tapanui. Several had fallen as a result of high winds in the district during the past few months.

Community board member Michelle Kennedy said there were “a number of big, lovely old trees around the area that look great, but might need trimmed to make sure that they’re safe”.

She identified stretches of Derby St and Cemetery Rd where trees could be targeted.

It was agreed at the meeting that the most hazardous trees may have to be removed entirely.

Service delivery group manager Jules Witt said the town had gone through a similar “berm trees project” 10 years ago, picking out trees close to properties that needed to be trimmed or cut down.

“Records were kept of which trees needed done before .. we can just do that again,” he said.

The West Otago Community Board would work with the council to update the list and bring the trees under control.

Mr Cadogan said it was an important project and it could be rolled out across other parts of the district, as required.

“We should constantly be vigilant. This process will give us another chance to look the issue .. I think other towns will be interested in doing something similar.”