The following letter has been sent to Auckland Council from The Tree Council tonight. If you would like to receive the accompanying reports please email our Secretary on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for the opportunity to present the views of The Tree Council regarding the proposed removal of the scheduled macrocarpa tree at 1817 Great North Road, Avondale. Our views are as follows:
1. We oppose the removal of this scheduled notable tree.
2. We oppose the decision being made non-notified and request public notification of the consent application and a full public process.
3. We dispute the non-notification decision based on the lack of effect on visual amenity & table our independent Visual Assessment Report as evidence (attached).
4. We dispute the suggestion that the tree is in poor health / decline based on the Greenscene Arboricultural Report that you commissioned (attached).
5. We support the decision of the Regional Arborists and Ecological Department to refuse permission to remove the tree because removal is not justified under the RMA or Auckland Unitary Plan and the “evidence” used to support the removal is flawed.
6. We question why the decision regarding removal of this tree is being removed from your department, despite you having delegated authority to take it, and wish to know what the delegated authority of the Whau Local Board is to make any decision regarding this tree as it is located 60% on road reserve (owned by Auckland Transport) and not in a local park? We note that the Local Board only manages local park land and not road reserve.
7. We question the qualifications of the Whau Local Board members to make any decision regarding an RMA / Unitary Plan matter as they are not qualified independent commissioners, planners, arborists or landscape architects and have no relevant experience in adjudicating on such matters. We consider that the Local Board is being set up to take the blame for decisions made by Panuku and a private developer behind closed doors.
8. We ask why the private developer has already pre-sold 40 apartments in the development for this site based on a design that assumes that this scheduled notable tree will be removed, despite not having obtained consent for the removal?
9. We request that representatives of The Tree Council and mana whenua are present at any discussion and decision making meeting of the Whau Local Board regarding this tree. We would like to request speaking rights at any such meeting to address the Local Board on this issue.
10. We request that any such meeting be open to the public and advertised so that interested members of the local community, whom the Whau Local Board purports to represent, can be present.
11. We will be taking legal advice regarding the process being followed by Council regarding the proposed destruction of this scheduled notable tree, which is a public heritage item in the Auckland Unitary Plan.
12. We will be releasing this letter to the media.
We would appreciate an urgent response by email from the Whau Local Board Chair regarding our attendance at any meeting planned to discuss this issue.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Ngā mihi maioha
Dr Mels Barton
Secretary, The Tree Council