Oak “remarkable” under which you would not want to live “saved from the coast

A Picton homeowner who has approached council in hopes of having a large oak tree removed from outside his house is disappointed that he is staying where he is.

The man, Clive Whitlock, said he was still thinking the tree wouldn’t be cut down.

The 91-year-old Quercus palustris, or Pin Oak, is a few yards from Whitlock’s house. He says it’s a risk all year round, not just when the leaves end up in the gutter in the fall.

Whitlock first approached Marlborough District Council about the tree in 2017. A meeting was held and it was agreed that security checks and pruning would take place annually.

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A year later, Whitlock and 10 other residents petitioned council to have the tree removed.

Safety checks by council contract arborists found the tree healthy, but Whitlock said it was only a matter of time before the tree caused serious damage to his home.

Whitlock first contacted Marlborough District Council in 2017.

BRYA INGRAM / STUFF

Whitlock first contacted Marlborough District Council in 2017.

“I felt very disappointed. I’m still thinking about it, “he said.

“I think what they [the council] do not realize [is] that the tree is not just a nuisance in the fall when it drops its leaves. It’s all year round, whenever we have strong gusts of wind, pieces fall off branches and things, land on the roof and all around.

“One of these days I think something bigger is going to fall off and do some real damage.”

Marlborough District Councilor David Oddie mentioned the tree in August, saying a massive amount of tree nuisance had been inflicted on the Whitlocks.

“This [the pin oak] dominates their house, the roots are in their foundations, ”said Oddie.

“You just wouldn’t want to live under a tree this size. “

But it was at an assets and services meeting earlier this month that Marlborough District Councilors agreed not to cut the tree down, instead doing a better job of having it pruned every year.

But Whitlock wasn’t convinced that would be enough.

“I don’t think that will solve the problems. It’s a matter of waiting. “

Whitlock believes the tree's roots mutilated the concrete path leading to his house and entered the house's foundation, although he has yet to find any evidence.

BRYA INGRAM / STUFF

Whitlock believes the tree’s roots mutilated the concrete path leading to his house and entered the house’s foundation, although he has yet to find any evidence.

A report prepared for the meeting said residents and the wider community had been consulted on whether the tree should be removed. Of the 48 responses, 27 supported its deletion.

The report states that after evaluating the “provisions of the council’s tree policy”, it was recommended that the request to remove the tree be refused, due to its state of health, its listing. as a “remarkable” tree, the character it has given to the region. and because it had been assessed as low risk.

But even during the meeting, some councilors were concerned about the tree’s proximity to the house.

Deputy Mayor Nadine Taylor said she herself wouldn’t like to live next to the tree.

“I have a pretty firm vision, it’s not a tree I would like to live under at all, and 26 of the residents aren’t happy living below,” Taylor said.

Taylor said it’s “easy enough” not to want a tree removed, when you don’t live underneath.

“I firmly believe that the tree should be removed.”

Councilor Cynthia Brooks said being an “approach to the trees” she had given the situation serious thought.

She said she wanted to see more evidence of how the tree looked after it was pruned.

“I wouldn’t want to live with that either. I want to find a compromise.

Councilor Brian Dawson asked council staff member Robin Dunn, who was the director of parks and recreation, if the same street was built today, if the same tree would be planted.

Dunn admitted that an oak would not be the first choice for Picton, as it was not representative of the region.

Despite these views, the committee came to the conclusion that it should follow the report’s recommendation to conserve the tree.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett said it gave him “confidence” that they could examine the tree’s impacts again, if they needed to.

“I think it’s important that it’s a tree that is inspected regularly, so if things change, we have to be prepared to see it again,” he said.

He said it was important to take into consideration that the tree had been assessed as healthy and was listed as an outstanding tree.

Councilor Jamie Arbuckle, who was not on the Assets and Services Committee, said large trees were not a “bad thing.” He said when he went to the full council he would recommend that the tree not be cut down.

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