After the fireworks surrounding the fate of the pine trees on Half Mile Reserve, the final decision was a damp squib.
For more than 16 months, debate has surrounded the trees at the southern entrance to Alexandra, with emotions flaring on both sides.
At Tuesday’s Vincent Community Board meeting, following an address in the public forum from resident Ken Churchill, the board voted unanimously to accept the council recommendation the trees be felled.
Central Otago District Council parks and recreation manager Gordon Bailey said the trees would need to be removed by the end of the financial year in June but it was likely it would happen in the next two months.
The slash from the tree felling would be chipped on site as the trees were felled and the chipped material left to be used by the parks department.
Replanting was likely to be done about this time next year, Mr Bailey said.
Councillor Martin McPherson said he wanted an assurance the original plan for replanting would be implemented.
Mr Bailey said he would come back to the board with updated prices and plans for approval.
The plan was for a natural Central Otago landscape with seating, trails and rocks rather than an urban park, he said.
The Half Mile trees are deemed a significant seed source for wilding pines in the area, and in October 2021 were earmarked by the Central Otago District Council (CODC) and Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group for removal.
At the time a lack of public consultation raised the ire of residents in the Bridge Hill area who use the reserve for recreation.
Public submissions on the issue were received last year, and in January the Vincent Community Board agreed to the removal of wilding conifers at the reserve, but in a staged approach.
After the community board sought clarification whether the staged removal of trees was permitted under the council’s wilding conifer control policy, they found that staged removal was not allowed under the policy.