Tony Hay - OIR No. 6 – Marlborough District Council survey

Tony Hay made this Official Information request to Marlborough District Council

The request was refused by Marlborough District Council.

From: Tony Hay

Dear Marlborough District Council,

Please see Information posted in Tony Hay OIR No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 before proceeding.

My name is Tony Hay and I am the owner, along with my wife, of 42 Lakings Road, Springlands, Blenheim.

As previously mentioned in OIR No. 5 I had thanked Councillor Nadine Taylor and commented that I assumed that the survey would be carried out by Council Reserves staff and pointed out that my relationship with them had deteriorated in recent times but was hopeful that the survey would be carried out with integrity. Frankly, I don’t think it was.

Having carried out substantial pruning of the 2 trees the Council was then in a position to give the impression that “all was well” and that the trees were being managed appropriately.

The public notification mentioned that “The Trees are in a healthy condition and were inspected recently by a qualified arborist, and pruning has occurred”. There was no mention of the fact that this substantial pruning was the first in 15 years.

Again, the public notification mentioned that “the residents who have requested their removal say the trees are too large, produce branch and leaf debris, and pose a threat to life and/or property, and could damage underground services”. What the notification fails to mention is that the copper beech had already caused damage to the sewer at 44 Lakings Road which council was obliged to repair at Rate Payers expense along with the potential for demolishing the electricity transformer on the other side of the road with all the implications that that would have. This has been well documented by Marlborough Lines and I have informed council of this. Again, no mention of the impact of branch and leaf debris in blocking the drains which I have regularly documented and complained to council about.

The impact of possible damage should have been included since it is the Rate Payers of Marlborough who will pick up the cost.

Unbelievably the public notification mentions “could damage underground services”. The tree roots already do affect the piping in the road resulting in Council having to periodically cut the roots out. Another complete waste of Rate Payers money.

The question also needs to be asked how large is too large. Viewing from above, the trees nearly stretch across the road to the electricity transformer on the other side of the road. The trees are some 35 meters high with considerable width. I have placed a placard on my fence highlighting the fact that whether the trees are healthy or not “Common sense should tell you (MDC) that these trees are NOT suitable for an urban environment YES, COMMON SENSE!”

My Questions:

Does the Marlborough District Council believe that the survey was carried out with integrity, fully informing local residents and the general public of the full facts?

Does the MDC understand the meaning of the word integrity?

Why did it take from the 5th August 2019, when the Arborist report was presented to Council, till the 29th July 2020 (nearly a year later), for Council to substantially prune the 2 trees or was the Council already aware that the Arborist report had said that there was no point or was it because more credence had started to be given to the impact of climate change by the government?

Yours faithfully,

Tony Hay

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From: MDC
Marlborough District Council

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Customer Services

Marlborough District Council

Phone 03 520 7400


15 Seymour Street, PO Box 443

Blenheim 7240, New Zealand

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From: Tony Quirk-8077
Marlborough District Council

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The information I have received in response to this is that the survey is
a standard type used where residents and public views are sought to obtain
views on tree removals.


Question 2 is not seen as an information request.


Question 3 – it is not uncommon for non-urgent unplanned work to take some
time to be undertaken on trees as it has to be worked in and around other
planned maintenance work. 


There were some delays due to Covid-19 lockdowns as no maintenance of this
type occurred during this period.  There would have then be a catch up of
other delayed work prior to the work on the Lakings Road trees in July.


The matter of Climate Change was not a factor considered in the decision
making around pruning of this tree.


This completes this request.



Tony Quirk

District Secretary




Phone:   03 520 7400


15 Seymour Street, PO Box 443

Blenheim 7240, New Zealand

[2][email address]




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