In 2009, the Government launched war on our urban forests by outlawing any general protections on trees on urban properties (under 4000m2) unless they are specifically scheduled for protection. When the Environment Court ruled to retain protections for trees in the ‘character’ Res 1 and 2 zones, the Government moved quickly in 2013 to strip even those trees of any general protection, describing this as a “minor [or] technical” amendment.
City Vision local boards led the way in 2011 in nominating trees for scheduling, with more than 900 scheduled trees in Albert-Eden’s area, for example. But that’s just a small fraction of the total trees in our urban forest. We have seen a lot of very old, large trees removed over the past two years.
Albert-Eden Local Board has called for a report on the impact of the Government’s reforms, so that we know how much is being lost. It’s also called on the Governing Body of Auckland Council to lobby the Government to rescind its attacks on urban tree protections.
You can do your bit too. Members of the public may nominate ‘notable’ trees for scheduling in the Unitary Plan (submission form available here). The deadline is 28 February, so if there are trees you think may need protecting, talk to your local board now, especially if you’re in a City Vision local board area (Albert-Eden, Puketapapa and Waitemata).
So important . . . but also to check out what the underlying zoning is in for areas you may regard as ‘safe’ for native bush at the moment such as school grounds.
Here in Browns Bay, by sleight of hand, half of the Northcross Bush area behind Sherwood Primary School, is zoned for schools in the Unitary plan maps but in the tender documents it is Residential 4, the underlying zoning, and so it has been slipped through any public scrutiny with the Ministry of Education insisting it be sold to pay for the leaky buildings at Northcross!
You can help ‘Save Northcross Bush’ by visiting the FB page of the same name, liking and following the links to a petition set up on Change.org.
The tenders closed on 13th February and one could be accepted any day so please also petition Hekia Parata, Minister of Education, and Murray McCully, MP for East Coast Bays – contacts on the FB page – to halt or suspend the tender process until the community has had a chance to ‘Save Northcross Bush’:
and further ask that Auckland Council do the same:
and allow Friends of SHerwood and Forest & Bird to address their full Council meeting on Thursday 27th February in Takapuna at the Public Forum to inform them further of the appalling lack of consultation and what needs to be done about it.
Thank you . . . :}