Decaying trees cleared for natives

Nearly 400 trees, most of which have been deemed unhealthy, are set to be cleared in Halswell as part of work on two stormwater basins.

The removals are part of the draft design for the Sutherlands Basin and Eastman Wetlands stormwater facilities.

City council staff said the lost trees at the 100ha site would be replaced by 12,500 large native trees, along with 300,000 smaller native plants.

Riccarton Ward city councillor Vicki Buck said the city council would aim for 500 fruit trees to be planted near footpaths at the site.

“[The plan] is just stunning. We have a policy that we adopted three years ago to ensure that we have edibles to make sure there is food around,” Cr Buck said.

A tree assessment carried out last month examined 660 trees at the site. Of those, 46 “healthy and structurally sound” trees and 332 “unhealthy and structurally unsound” trees would be removed.

Said city council land drainage manager Keith Davidson: “There are large numbers of trees that are dead or in advanced decline, possibly due to changes in the water table, and large numbers of trees that have poor structural condition.”

Additionally, 455m of hedgerows would be removed. The trees will be removed throughout the remainder of the year.

It is part of the $40 million land drainage facilities being constructed in the area to prevent flooding.