Man calling for tree branch’s removal

Bright reflective tape has been placed on a large tree branch after Frank, pictured, accidentally struck his head on it late last year. Times photo Wayne Martin

An east Auckland man has been battling for six months to have a large branch cut off a tree after he inadvertently smacked his head on it while walking along the footpath.

Frank, who does not want his surname published, owns a property in Clovelly Road, Bucklands Beach.

While walking outside the home one day in September last year, he hit his head on one of the tree’s branches, which is overhanging the footpath.

Frank received a scrape to his head but did not require medical treatment.

It was the second time he’s hit his head on the same branch.

He contacted Auckland Council to report the incident as the tree is on the berm outside the property and therefore council-owned.

“I said I’d like them to remove the tree or the branch,” Frank told the Times.

“They sent a contractor and he said the tree is healthy and it’s protected, but it’s not protected.

“That’s rubbish. I said ‘at least cut the branch’.

“Again they sent this bloke and they’re now talking about their arborist people and they said the tree would die [if the branch was cut off].”

Frank says a branch was cut off an identical tree across the road from his Clovelly Road property in 2008 and that tree is still alive and healthy.

“I don’t mind trees but I don’t like them when they’re in the wrong place.

“I believe with this tree they should at least cut the branch, if not remove the whole tree because it’s [also] lifting up the footpath.”

Council regional arborists and ecological manager David Stejskal says a site visit was conducted to the protected melaleuca tree on Clovelly Road when a request was made to remove the tree’s limb.

“We noted there is enough room on the footpath for people to pass the tree limb safely, including passing cyclists who should be riding at a reduced speed on the footpath.

“However, temporary reflective tape has been placed on the limb to highlight the lower areas of the branch to help minimise the risk of people hitting the limb when passing by on the footpath.

“Following a close inspection of the tree, our arborists established that removal of the tree limb would have a long-term detrimental effect on the form and health of the tree.”

Stejskal says while health and safety remain the council’s “utmost priority”, it also has a duty to look after protected trees on council land.

“Before considering removing the limb of this protected tree, we would need to explore other alternatives such as realigning the footpath to curve away from the limb.

“This would mean we can retain the limb and the health of the tree as well as address the customer’s pedestrian concerns.

“This has been proposed to the customer who declined for aesthetic reasons.

“However, our position remains unchanged.”

Stejskal says the council was unable to find a record of the tree over the road having a branch removed.

“It was likely removed before 2008 and our arborists therefore cannot confirm why the limb of this tree was removed.”

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