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Te Kaupapa Whakaora i Ngā Tupu Taketake ki Ngā Puna o Waiōrea

Western Springs Native Bush Restoration Project

Waitematā Local Board will return an area in Western Springs Park to native forest, providing an improved ecosystem for indigenous flora and fauna.

About the Western Springs Native Bush Restoration Project

This project aims to enhance the ecological and amenity value of Western Springs Park. It will return the exotic pine dominated vegetation to native bush by planting trees including:

  • kauri
  • pūriri
  • taraire
  • tānekahe.

The native bush will provide an important habitat for a range of wildlife including our native tui, grey warbler and silvereye.

The project is expected to take around two months.

Restoring native bush in Western Springs

In 2015 the Waitematā Local Board approved the commencement of the ‘Western Springs Native Bush Restoration’ project.

The intent of the project was to undertake a programme of pine removal and native tree replanting over the next three years.

This was to meet the objective of the Western Springs Lakeside Park Plan and to remove the risk to public safety and adjacent properties.

Resource consent and decision to proceed with works

A resource consent was granted in September 2019 to remove the stand of pine trees.

In January 2020, the Waitematā Local Board Chair requested that the decision to proceed with the removal of the whole stand of pine trees under the resource consent be brought before the local board.

A decision about whether or not to proceed with the consented works is yet to be made by the local board.

Restoration project updates

October update 3

The Tree Consultancy Company (TCC) assessed 198 pine trees in the Western Springs Forest between 21 September and 8 October 2020. TCC has now provided the council with their final technical report following this assessment.

In addition, the council has received further independent technical reports from:
Dr Rien Visser University of Canterbury - this report comments on options for tree extraction in Western Springs Forest; and, Bioresearches – an ecological report.

October update 2

The Waitematā Local Board held a workshop on 13 October 2020. At this workshop the preliminary findings of an independent assessment of the pines were presented by The Tree Consultancy Company. The workshop provided the local board with an opportunity to ask questions directly to the external consultants about their findings and preliminary report.

The relationship with the Tree Consultancy Company has been managed via the council’s Assurance Services to ensure transparency and to give assurance that the advice provided is independent and expert advice.

The information contained the report produced by The Tree Consultancy Company will help inform staff advice to the local board on the reasonably practicable options available to achieve the objectives of the Western Springs Native Bush Restoration Project (to protect the existing ecology, enable access to the forest and to comply with council’s health and safety obligations), and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

The following report is the preliminary report provided by The Tree Consultancy Company. The additional document provides an explanation on the VALID method. A final report will be available for the extraordinary meeting of the Waitematā Local Board on 3 November 2020.

October 2020 update 1

Council staff and the Waitematā Local Board have now engaged an external consultant to carry out an independent assessment of the pine tree stand in Western Springs Forest.

This assessment will provide additional information for the local board to consider when they make a decision over the next couple of months about whether to proceed with removing the full stand of pine trees as per the existing resource consent, or consider an alternative option to manage the trees. Given the risk of falling pine trees or tree branches, the forest remains closed to the public including when contractors are present.

The consultant’s independent report will be published on the council’s website when it is available.

The local board intends to take a decision on whether to proceed with the consented works on the pine trees at a business meeting on Tuesday 3 November 2020.

July 2020 update (amended October 2020)

There have been delays to the start of this project due to interruptions caused by the COVID-19 lockdown and the local board is yet to make a decision on whether or not to proceed with the consented works to remove the pine trees.

As the council has advised that some of the pine trees pose a health and safety risk, we have notified the residents and businesses most at risk.

By the end of July 2020, fencing will also be extended to prevent public access to the pine tree fall zone in Western Springs Lakeside Te Wai Ōrea.

March 2020 update (amended October 2020)

The Waitemata Local Board has voted to delay taking a decision on whether or not to proceed with the resource consent to remove the stand of pine trees.

The area will remain closed due to health and safety reasons, while the local board considers the future of the pine trees.

Further information

If you wish to receive regular updated about the removal of the pine trees, or for more information, email westernsprings@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.