The Tree Council is delighted to announce that the Independent Hearing Commissioners have granted Plan Change 68, and the notable pohutukawa that sits on top of a volcanic feature in the garden of the property at 8 Eglinton Avenue, Mt Eden will be retained and added to Schedule 10 (Notable Trees) in the Auckland Unitary Plan.
The tree had been left out of the Unitary Plan Schedule 10 in error after all the legacy Council tree schedules were amalgamated. This left this significant tree unprotected and vulnerable. When The Tree Council found out that the landowner planned to develop the property and the tree was at risk we lobbied Auckland Council to rectify their error.
Unfortunately Auckland Council did not wish to do this, so The Tree Council took legal action to force Auckland Council to undertake a plan change to amend the schedule and an interim enforcement order was issued by the Environment Court to prevent the tree’s removal. This enforcement order will remain in place until the plan change to correct the omission and add the tree back into the schedule is implemented.
In order to avoid going to court an agreement was reached with both Auckland Council and the landowner to undertake a plan change to reschedule the tree and Plan Change 68 was publicly notified on 23 September 2021. A total of 160 submissions were received of which 159 were in support of adding the pohutukawa to Schedule 10 (Notable Trees).
The landowner Mr Zheng opposed the plan change to reschedule the pohutukawa, but has indicated that his proposed development can proceed on the site while retaining the tree and accommodating his desire to develop the property.
The Tree Council’s Chair Sean Freeman is delighted that this prolonged process has resulted in the correction of a basic error in the Unitary Plan. “It is a great outcome for the people of Mt Eden and future generations of Aucklanders that this significant tree will finally be recognised as a notable heritage asset once again. Thanks to everyone who put in a submission supporting the rescheduling of the pohutukawa, or who made a donation, and to our legal team and Board members who have put in many hours of work to achieve this result.”
“The fact that such a basic error went unnoticed for so long is a clear indication of the lack of adequate management of the Notable Tree Schedule by Auckland Council since its inception. The Tree Council is currently engaged in a judicial review of Auckland Council’s decision not to put resources into actively managing Schedule 10 and we consider that the current situation is a breach of Council’s legal obligations. We are hoping this legal action will result in the Notable Tree Schedule being seen as a more important part of the Unitary Plan than it apparently has been to date and that more resources will be allocated to its active management in future.”
Donations towards our legal costs can be made via our ANZ bank account at 11-5462-0230022-11.