Lakeview: Brecon Street trees to be felled - more to follow
"Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has confirmed that planned improvement works along Brecon Street, involving the removal of five mature eucalyptus trees, will continue as part of the Queenstown town centre street upgrades programme.
The removal, which was carefully considered by Councillors and Council officers, will begin tomorrow (Thursday 7 October). It is part of a group of projects designed to improve the experience of pedestrians and encourage active travel in the town centre which include proposals to plant around 500 new trees over the next four years.
An ecological assessment conducted in line with Department of Conservation protocols has confirmed that there are no nesting birds in the eucalyptus trees, three of which are located on Council road reserve with two on privately-owned land.
QLDC General Manager Property and Infrastructure Pete Hansby said specific upgrades like those on Brecon Street were developed from the Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan, approved by Council in 2017 following a programme of community engagement.
“The Masterplan represents a 30-year vision to transform our streetscapes and underground services. It includes significant improvements in pedestrian and cycle ways and open spaces for the community to enjoy,” he said.
“This work will involve the removal of trees across a number of different sites but Council’s intention is to retain trees that are protected or well-positioned. The location of these particular eucalypts, part way up a steep bank, made it impossible to build the necessary footpaths without weakening the root structure of the trees to a point where they become dangerous.”
Council will also consider lifting and shifting established trees to alternative locations where feasible, as well as planting new trees across the town centre. Brecon Street alone will have 47 new trees added to the area, which is destined to become a significant pedestrian boulevard linking downtown with tourism attractions, accommodation and the planned Lakeview development.
“One of the desired outcomes at Lakeview is to maintain a good balance between intensified development land and recreational open spaces for people to enjoy. Through our infrastructure upgrade programme for this area, roughly one third of existing trees will be retained, and we’ll be planting over 200 natives – that’s more than double the number removed for this part of the development,” said Mr Hansby.
A further area on which Council is currently engaging is the removal of specific trees at Hotops Rise to make way for a new active travel path connecting the Frankton track directly to the town centre.
“Once again, the trees being removed here will be replaced by an even larger number of new, predominantly native trees which will also improve the long-term tree canopy of Queenstown Gardens,” said Mr Hansby.
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult said he was very proud that Queenstown was recognised last year as one of New Zealand’s three Tree Cities of the World, in part because of the district’s commitment to effective urban forest management and the work of volunteers.
“We recognise our responsibility to kaitiakitanga. When you look around the district we are a very green place. However, development and redevelopment means that sometimes individual trees do need to be removed. We appreciate the passion our community has for the natural environment and Council is committed to ensuring that our urban spaces remain green spaces too,” said Mayor Boult."