Bid to get resource consent fee dropped unlikely

Graeme (pictured) and his wife Diane Barber asked the city council to drop a resource consent fee so they can apply to have six oak trees cut down, but a response said it was unlikely.

A Harewood couple may have failed in their bid to have an $1800 resource consent
fee waived over troublesome trees.

Graeme and Diane Barber have asked the city council to drop the $1800 fee, so they can apply to have six 16m oak trees in Pasadena Reserve cut down.

The couple who live in Cam Pl have been battling the city council for 10 years over the trees, which they say block the sun to their property and impact their wellbeing.

But a response, which Mr Barber received from the city council last week, indicated that a waiver was unlikely because the trees are more than 10m tall and in good health.

“There’s nothing in there that gives me any hope there would be a fee waiver,” he said.

“I’m not feeling very good about it.”

Mr Barber wanted the fees waived as he believed that paying for the application put the blame on residents for something that was not their fault.

“The decisions that the city council has made in the past hasn’t considered other people in the long term,” Mr Barber said.

He said when he shared the information with his neighbours, who are also affected, their reaction was “horror.”

“At this point in time, everything is lumped on the applicant who had no responsibility in the decision-making process and is feeling guilty by association,” Mr Barber said.

He said he will figure out how to move forward in the coming months.

But Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board chairman Sam MacDonald said it was a “tricky situation” as the waived fee would end up costing ratepayers.

“We sympathise with Mr Barber over the situation, but the reality is that if there was an exception to be made in one case, ratepayers could end up subsidising the removal of trees right across the city,” Mr MacDonald said.

“It’s not an easy situation at all.

“Down the line, there is also paying for the actual trees to be removed, which would be bloody expensive,” Mr MacDonald said.

The $1800 fee for resource consent is only a deposit.

The final fees are the actual costs of processing the removal of the trees and there may be a refund or a further invoice.