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110-year-old beachfront trees felled

Safety concerns make ‘one-tree beach’ of holiday spot

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

They stood for 110 years, welcoming visitors to Riversdale Beach, but now a well-known stand of pines is no more.

The trees that lined the beach front were deemed unsafe by an arborist, after suffering from decades of strong winds.

About 50 trees have now been felled by Masterton District Council after the Riversdale Ratepayers’ Association raised concerns about public’s safety, and will be replaced by natives.

But the move hasn’t pleased everyone, with claims the decision wasn’t announced to all residents, and that plans could have been discussed with those living close to the site.

Riversdale Ratepayers Association president Bill Roberts said five years ago some Riversdale residents had spoken out about the safety of the trees during stormy weather and winter winds.

The view before the trees were cut down PHOTO/RIVERSDALE RESERVATIONS

“We developed that reserve some time ago and put paths in, and the idea was for kids and families to enjoy walking through there.

“But the thought of it being somewhere that people were concerned that the trees were going to fall over at any minute was not good,” Mr Roberts said.

He raised the issue with Masterton District Council and a qualified arborist then recommended the removal of some trees as they were unsafe.

“We couldn’t object to the trees being felled because it was a safety issue — we’d be a bit silly to say, ‘Oh they have been there for years, we want them left’,” Mr Roberts said.

Sloan McPhee, who has been holidaying at the beach for 25 years, has recently finished building a holiday home that overlooked the treeline.

He and his family woke up last Saturday morning to see the view changing dramatically.

“The kids watched 100-year-old trees drop and were upset and confused,” he said.

“If there was a safety issue then I understand, but perhaps rotten trees could have been replaced ‘as and when required’ as opposed to one fell swoop.”

The Riversdale Ratepayers’ Association apparently communicated this project over a long-period of time, he said.

But while he will be joining the association next year, he believes discussion with those not in the association was needed.

“This part of the coast now looks like ‘one-tree beach’… [but] we look forward to the re-planting.”

Masterton District Council community facilities and activities manager Andrea Jackson said the felling was now complete, and the site was being cleared for a native planting programme.

“Natives are planned to be planted this winter, taking into consideration shade, framed views, erosion and shelter,” she said.

The new trees will be planted about 10m apart, being a selection of coastal re-vegetation plants.

The felled trees were about 110 years old, but most were considered small due to the location and the effect of the prevailing wind, she said.

Once the trees had been cut down internal decay had been discovered, which was typical of pine trees of that age.

The wood has been sent away for milling, which had reduced the cost of the project.

The trees were a selection of species including Radiata Pine and the rarer Pinus Pinasta.

 

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. The company responsible for cutting the trees down should know better than to leave stumps with unsafe hinge wood left for public to injure themselves on. The job should not have been signed off by the council.

  2. Yeah real shame. Didn’t know anything about it and shocked to see them felled. Last remnant of the pine plantation that was there in the fifties and sixties.

  3. Unbelievable!!! I loved those trees. Where is the proof they were rotten within? Oh that’s right…they’re now milled. Shame on the council’s decision!!

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