Wendy Gray: Western Springs Forest Update

The society’s experts have done a tree-by-tree assessment according to New Zealand arborist industry standards, which council has not done despite being asked to do so since early this year.

The society has never agreed with Council Community Facilities’ claim that the Western Springs forest is unsafe and ‘imminently’ about to fall down.

Despite council’s alarmist proposed emergency works, last January, regarding 13 trees which it claimed were ‘imminently’ in danger of falling down, the forest itself has proven, through two recent big storms, that all its trees are not imminently about to collapse.

The society’s arboricultural experts say that the forest needs skilled arboricultural management, not destruction of our valuable mature trees, which is chainsaw management.

Had council carried out usual maintenance, the forest path would still be open to the public. Council’s failure to maintain one tree, near the path, after April 2018 Cat 2 Storm, has kept the forest path closed.

Keeping the path closed serves both council and the outgoing Waitemata Local Board Chair to support their narrative that the whole forest is a health and safety risk. Yet, our research shows that the council has never carried out an industry health and safety assessment.

The society’s tree-by-tree assessment by expert arboriculturalists enables us to know exactly what we are saying. Council’s advice is based on fear, opinion and assumption, not arboricultural best practice or legal health and safety standards.

The final outcome of the society’s challenge of the Western Springs Resource Consent is still in a mediation process.

We hope we will be able to work with the council and the new local board on the future management of the forest and our plans for a Western Springs wildlife reserve.

Wendy Gray, Chair, Society for the Protection of Western Springs Forest.

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