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Removal of Gardner Place locust trees in limbo

GARDNER Place residents wanting to reverse a Gisborne District Council decision to remove trees from their street left councillors discussing their committee procedures.

Klaus Sorenson, representing the residents, told the council’s community development and services committee they wanted 11 honey locust trees scheduled for removal at the request of other Gardner Place residents to be retained.

The trees needed maintenance, which he said would be a small price for their amenity value.

Residents enjoyed the provided shade and several residents had bought property in the street because of the attractive setting that included the trees.

Retaining and maintaining the trees was a sensible compromise.

Mr Sorenson said the matter was not a ‘‘numbers game” but he had 14 signatories in favour of retention compared to nine in favour of removal indicated during a “poorly-devised” council survey.

The decision to remove, made in February, and its consultation were flawed, he said

Amber Dunn asked if the residents could be told what steps the committee would take after their submissions rather than “leaving them in limbo”.

“How many times do you want to go round,’’ said committee chairman Andy Cranston.

We had submission, then submission on submission.

‘‘At some point the committee has to make a decision.”

Ms Dunn asked for another report or for the matter to be put on a committee action sheet.

Shannon Dowsing said he read arborist reports and all other information. He sympathised with Mr Sorenson but there was nothing new to address his original decision. Council staff could only provide the same information.

Mr Cranston agreed. The committee was “in the same place” as in February. It was not a numbers game.

Josh Wharehinga said the committee faced setting a dangerous precedence if they started revisiting matters.

Mr Cranston said the committee would have to ask the original pro-removal submitters to find 15 signatories if they wanted to be fair.

The committee, after further debate, accepted the suggestion of council director of liveable communities Andrew White to ask staff to come back “with a full summary of where we stand”.

There was a lot of information about an issue important to residents and ‘‘the greening of our city,” he said.

GARDNER Place residents wanting to reverse a Gisborne District Council decision to remove trees from their street left councillors discussing their committee procedures.

Klaus Sorenson, representing the residents, told the council’s community development and services committee they wanted 11 honey locust trees scheduled for removal at the request of other Gardner Place residents to be retained.

The trees needed maintenance, which he said would be a small price for their amenity value.

Residents enjoyed the provided shade and several residents had bought property in the street because of the attractive setting that included the trees.

Retaining and maintaining the trees was a sensible compromise.

Mr Sorenson said the matter was not a ‘‘numbers game” but he had 14 signatories in favour of retention compared to nine in favour of removal indicated during a “poorly-devised” council survey.

The decision to remove, made in February, and its consultation were flawed, he said

Amber Dunn asked if the residents could be told what steps the committee would take after their submissions rather than “leaving them in limbo”.

“How many times do you want to go round,’’ said committee chairman Andy Cranston.

We had submission, then submission on submission.

‘‘At some point the committee has to make a decision.”

Ms Dunn asked for another report or for the matter to be put on a committee action sheet.

Shannon Dowsing said he read arborist reports and all other information. He sympathised with Mr Sorenson but there was nothing new to address his original decision. Council staff could only provide the same information.

Mr Cranston agreed. The committee was “in the same place” as in February. It was not a numbers game.

Josh Wharehinga said the committee faced setting a dangerous precedence if they started revisiting matters.

Mr Cranston said the committee would have to ask the original pro-removal submitters to find 15 signatories if they wanted to be fair.

The committee, after further debate, accepted the suggestion of council director of liveable communities Andrew White to ask staff to come back “with a full summary of where we stand”.

There was a lot of information about an issue important to residents and ‘‘the greening of our city,” he said.

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