Five mature totara were felled in Totara Views, Red Beach, angering neighbours.
As sections get smaller, trees in parks and reserves become even more valuable to residents.
And it’s not often on the Coast that you get mature totara right next door. The Vesey and Collier families are among the Red Beach residents who felt lucky to have several totara, estimated to be around 50 years old, near their homes.
Both families speak of hearing morepork calling at night, being woken by tui and watching nesting kereru. The trees were one reason they moved into the area.
Last month, it was a shock when five of the 20m plus giants, on a privately owned section in Spyglass Street, were felled.
Not all the totara on the section were felled, but the ones removed were those closest to neighbouring properties.
Neighbours first knew of it when they heard chainsaws and the loud crack of trees falling to the ground.
“We would’ve liked to be consulted,” Rachelle Collier says. “A lot of our privacy is gone – trimming the trees would have opened up sea views from that section. The morepork has gone.”
George Vesey says the felling may have improved views from the Spyglass Street section, but they ruined his.
“The trees were all healthy and held a lot of insect and bird life,” he says. “It has massively affected the landscape around our place and the wildlife has disappeared.”
The land is owned by VBC – Viana Building Contractors.
Its director, Osvaldir Viana of Ōrewa, says the trees, one of which was not healthy, were felled to bring in more sun. He says there is also an allergy issue for the person contracted to buy the property which could be affected by the trees.
“I apologise to the neighbours, and plan to erect a 1.8m fence on the walkway,” he says.
The site is currently being offered for sale as a house and land package under the headline “a blend of nature with luxury and sea views”.
What happened?: In 2014, Auckland Council granted consent for Chuanglie International Developments to fell 32 protected ‘Notable’ totara (73 protected trees in total) on its land in Red Beach. This was strongly opposed by residents and Forest and Bird. A subdivision of 19 homes was created. • Around 25 totara were kept as part of the resource consent conditions, and protected by covenant. That protection no longer exists since the Resource Management Act was amended by the Government in 2015, although six totara (at other addresses in Spyglass Street) are protected on Council’s Notable Tree Schedule. • Totara on Seagate Reserve, part of the same remnant grove, are protected because they are on a public reserve.