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Tree Protection in Pinehaven

posted 24 Mar 2015, 11:38 by Kenneth Dixon   [ updated 25 Mar 2015, 11:26 ]
The Upper Hutt City Council is interested in hearing your opinion on tree protection in Pinehaven prompted by the imminent abolition of the "blanket tree protection" zoning rules, currently covering parts of Pinehaven. Have your say here:
Note: Consultation closes at 5pm on Thursday 02 April 2015.

Here are some example survey answers from PPA members in the pro camp:

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1. In your opinion, how important are trees to the character of the Conservation and Hill areas?

Very important
We have lived in Pinehaven for 11 years.  The amenity of the local area, which derives from the continuous forest cover on the hills that enfold our community, is the main reason we chose to move here from Wellington and why we intend to stay here long term.  I know I speak for many in this community when I say that the forested hills are a very highly valued.

2. Please describe the values you associate with trees in the Conservation and Hill areas?
Primarily amenity values, but also biodiversity (even under the mature pine forest there is a robust native understorey), protection of water quality, and erosion control on steep slopes above residential areas. 

3. How important do you think it is to provide on-going protection to trees in the Conservation and Hill Zones?

Very important
It is vital that planning provisions continue to protect the integrity of the forest on Pinehaven's hill slopes.  If the forest is to continue providing our community with the ecosystem services outlined in (2) above then it needs to be protected and managed as an integrated unit.  Allowing for piecemeal clearance could result in a patchwork of cleared and forested blocks, which would be detrimental to amenity values in particular, and could also elevate erosion and wind-throw risks.

4. How supportive are you of trees on your property being protected?

Very supportive
I must declare here that I live on a subdivided property of 750 square metres and do not own a slice of the mature forest.  However we do have two semi-mature native trees that I would be very happy to see protected.

5. Do you have any further comments or concerns you think Council should be aware of?

Besides the immediate local community, Pinehaven's hills contribute significantly to the amenity of the Silverstream and Heretaunga areas, to the visual continuity of the Eastern Hutt Hills from the western side of the valley, and to the ecological continuity of the Eastern Hutt Hills.  I would suggest that the wider community should also have an opportunity for input to this discussion.  I know a lot of people in Pinehaven and I can confidently say that the ethic of environmental stewardship is alive and well in this community.  I expect that there will be strong support for protecting "our" forest which, while privately owned by multiple small holders, is in aggregate a precious piece of our natural heritage, for this and future generations.