PC129 proposes to replace the "Heritage Tree" provisions in Chapters 14, 59 and Appendix 2 of the Operative Whangarei District Plan (WDP) with one district wide chapter titled "Notable and Public Trees (NPT)" that relates to the protection of individual trees or groups of trees.
Both individually and collectively trees provide a significant contribution to the historical, ecological, cultural and amenity values of the District. Those specimens that exemplify these characteristics are identified as being "notable".
The Standard Tree Evaluation Method (STEMTM) is used for the identification and scoring of trees identified as being potentially worthy of protection in the district plan.
Trees in road reserves, parks and reserves make the streetscape more appealing while improving pedestrian amenity and public health and provide important ecological functions. However, road reserves, parks and reserves facilitate a wide range of uses which can conflict with the presence of trees.
As such Trees over a certain size in road reserves, parks and reserves are referred to throughout the proposed NPT chapter as "public trees", with allowances made for necessary works while accommodating suitable protection.
PC129 forms part of Council's rolling review of the District Plan over a 10 year period. The review of the 'Heritage Tree' provisions in the WDP has identified:
- Conflicts between trees and private land uses;
- Conflicts between maintenance and efficient operation of infrastructure and the call for protection of trees;
- Heritage trees have identified social, cultural and environmental values;
- The need to ensure that trees are considered in relation to future generations, and therefore identified and retained through future subdivision and development processes;
- The benefit associated with enabling trees on road reserves, parks and reserves to be efficiently managed in order to support the ongoing retention of this asset.
The change from 'Heritage Trees' to 'Notable and Public Trees', recognises that a large number of trees afforded protection under these provisions are located on road reserves, parks and reserves and that those scheduled in the WDP are not necessarily scheduled for their heritage values, rather a range of Submissions can seek to add or remove trees from the schedule following notification of PC129.
The Hearing is closed as of Friday 18 January 2019, the Hearing Panel are deliberating on the plan change and will make a recommendation to Council.
Submitters will be notified of a Decision by Council on these recommendations once this is available. Appeal rights to the Environment Court will then apply.