Answers by Marlborough District Council to my request for the complete removal of 3 trees

Tony Hay made this Official Information request to Marlborough District Council

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Marlborough District Council should have responded by now (details and exceptions). The requester can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Tony Hay

Dear Marlborough District Council,

On Tuesday 6th March 2019 I approached the Marlborough District Council (MDC) to discuss the removal of the 3 trees on council road reserve “the Bern” to the south of my property. Subsequently Robin Dunn, the MDC Reserves and Amenities Officer, visited the property on Friday 29th April 2019 and stated that he would get an arborist to do an assessment on the 3 trees and advise me of their findings and recommendations.
However, I thought this was a waste of rate payer money since I considered it should be an open and shut case. The trees should be removed without any further to do ! So I laid out my thoughts in a document and emailed it through on Monday 1st May 2019.
I had already approached Marlborough Lines (ML) to ascertain the impact should the trees damage the electricity transformer in front of 41 Lakings Road. Having received ML assessment, I also emailed it through.
Having heard nothing for 3 months I emailed Robin Dunn on 5th June 2019 asking whether there had been any movement on this. I received no reply so I approached Tim, the arborist working for David James Tree Services (DJTS), as I knew they had been tasked with the writing of this report. They stated that they had made a field visit on 1st July 2019 to collect data on the trees and were currently compiling a risk assessment and general arboricultural assessment of the two trees.
In the meantime, I received an email from Robin Dunn on 6th August 2019 stating that he was still awaiting the report from DJTS but that the trees in question had just been inspected by a Nelmac arborist and were recorded as being in good condition with no notable issues.

And that’s where we are !

To Summarize:
This whole thing is NOT about whether arborists estimate that the trees will be around for another 50 years or whatever, its about basic common sense and responsibility.
Two of the three trees on MDC road Bern have been there for a considerable length of time (80 years plus perhaps) and in all this time the MDC has failed to manage them allowing them to basically “get away on them”. A disgrace. They may have inspected them periodically to make sure they were still standing but NO attempt was made to “manage them, their shape, their height, their size, their width” and so it goes on.
The 2 oak trees are an accident waiting to happen especially with the impact of climate change. It has been stated the normal climate conditions will be on steroids escalating into a severe weather event with all the repercussions associated with that.
If one or both trees come down there is a potential “kill zone” of some 35 metres which will certainly do serious damage to our house, which is only 14 metres away, should they fall in our direction. We sleep just 15 metres away ! ML have stated that should their electricity transformer be destroyed then some 63 houses will lose power, live electricity lines will potentially be hazardous to the public, and there will be disruption while crews deal with the situation. To a lesser extent both the 2 adjacent properties to ours will suffer damage.
The removal of the trees would also solve the problem of leaves and roots blocking the drains, affecting sewerage and water pipes, as has happened at 44 Lakings Road, and removing the hazardous exiting from my property due to the footpath being partly obscured by a 1 metre tree trunk. Everyone would be a winner removing my making virtually yearly requests to ML to have the MDC clear a route through the trees for my power line as required by law.
I have also complained to Marlborough Roads (MR) as they have some responsibility here as the tree branches well and truly spread out over the road. In fact, Tim from DJTS, recommended that “approximate end-weight pruning for canopy wind tolerance” be done for high tree branches spread across the road. This DJTS report was handed to the MDC in August 2019. Was this actioned? NO. The question should then be asked “why waste rate payer money on arborist reports that are ignored” ? Again, no correspondence addressing my concerns from MR.
To me the MDC fall far short of other NZ councils who have a much more realistic and sensible approach to removing street trees. As I have said it’s all about basic common sense and responsibility.
My question is simply this. Will the MDC address my concerns and detail why my assessment of the situation has not been addressed with the removal of the afore mentioned trees. All my complaints and thoughts will be housed in the Council Complaints database.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Hay

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From: MDC
Marlborough District Council

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From: Tony Quirk-8077
Marlborough District Council

Begin forwarded messaGe

Mr Hay
I have passed on your query to the Reserves section.
With covid 19 lockdown the ability to action such queries is
I extend the time period until the expiry of 20 working days
 following the end of the lockdown.
Reserves will try within that period to respond but we have allowed
for the extension given the circumstances.
Tony Quirk

Begin forwarded message:

From: MDC <[1][email address]>
Date: 2 April 2020 at 3:27:18 PM NZDT
To: Tony Quirk-8077 <[2][email address]>
Subject: FW: Official Information request - Answers by Marlborough
District Council to my request for the complete removal of 3 trees

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