Council criticised for ‘double standard’

Tim Sintes surveys the eroded shoreline. PHOTO: GILBERT WEALLEANS.

The removal of seven trees in Rawhiti Domain has been labelled a “double standard” following a request for an urgent safety audit of trees on the South New Brighton estuary edge.

The Rawhiti Domain trees will be removed because of safety concerns.

But Coastal-Burwood Community Board member Tim Sintes says the tree issue in South New Brighton needs urgent attention too.

He says more than 30 trees on the estuary edge are at risk of falling at any time. The community board requested an urgent safety audit at the beginning of last month.

The city council has previously told Pegasus Post the South New Brighton trees were being monitored over the past six weeks. A fallen tree on the beach had been removed, along with eight pine trees near the boundary fence of the camping ground.

However, Mr Sintes said the real problem is the trees on the estuary edge.

“It is a total inconsistency, as there has been no motion from city council to remove trees on the estuary edge, which pose equally as much of a safety risk,” he said.

“The walking track in South New Brighton would get a lot more people than the Rawhiti Domain one would . . . if you use the same criteria that they have used in the Rawhiti Domain on the estuary edge, well there shouldn’t be any trees left there.”

Mr Sintes said the work “reeks of a double standard” and believes it may be due to an agenda the city council has with the estuary edge.

The city council wants to let the estuary edge erode naturally following damage to the erosion protection from the earthquakes. The community board wants to protect it in order to preserve as much of the domain as possible.

“This (trees becoming damaged) is never going to stop on the estuary edge until they protect it,” Mr Sintes said.

City council acting head of parks Kay Holder said on Thursday the estuary edge is monitored on a regular basis as the area is treated as a priority from a health and safety perspective.

“As a result of this monitoring, we became aware of the fallen tree and tree stumps and had these removed as a priority. During those works a stand of dead pine and macrocarpa trees were identified as hazardous and have also been removed.

“We will continue to monitor the area on a regular basis to ensure that any health and safety issues are dealt with appropriately,” she said.