Tricia Reade, Waitemata Local Board member
The nominations have been submitted by a variety of local people and groups such as the Parnell Trust, the Parnell Heritage Society, members of Grey Lynn 2030, members of the Tree Council, and the Ponsonby Community. I am very pleased the communities in our Waitemata Local Board area were able to have their say on the trees that most inspire them within our suburban streetscapes. I’m disappointment that this whole process was necessary in the first place. The Government had no business meddling in local council District Plans with its changes to the Resource Management Act. General Trees Protections in the Auckland Isthmus District Plan were removed by heavy handed government legislation, and nominating individual and groups of trees for a scheduling process has been yet another task for already busy community people to complete. The government has added unnecessary additional costs to Auckland ratepayers through this process and we would prefer money to be in our ratepayers pockets rather than having this expense of scheduling. The Waitemata Local Board had sought urgent confirmation from planning policy officers that trees on State Schools, Council and CCO land and Council parks are still protected.
We have also sought confirmation that the coastal Pohutakawas on private and public land are to be protected. Coastal land from Herne Bay to Parnell has hundreds of magnificent pohutakawas that define the edge of our City. The Board would like assurance that each individual tree does not have to be individually nominated to gain protection. Our Waitemata ward has a large number of heritage and character housing in Residential 1 and 2 District Plan zones. It stands to reason that eighty to one hundred year old houses have many eighty to one hundred year old trees on their property, many of which have historical associations. It is the Board’s opinion that Resident 1 and 2 zones which make up a large percentage or our ward should all be subjected to the same protection of trees as the coastal Pohutakawas. I’ve sought confirmation that the Plan change will seek to have a broader approach to protecting significant trees in character and heritage zones .
There are strong ecological and environmental reasons why trees deserve a greater protection and these include the vital role they play in protection against air pollution, their role in greatly assisting in air quality in cities, their role in protection against noise pollution, their assistance with storm water run-off and prevent flooding on property and streets during heavy rainfall. The street and neighbourhood amenity of trees are a key ingredient into what makes Auckland one of the most livable cities in the world.