Clinton loses landmark tree

Goodbye ... Nicki Woods watched on as the gum tree outside her home in Clinton was cut down on Monday. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS

An almost 40-year-old ‘‘icon’’ of Clinton is no more and will be heating the towns homes for the foreseeable future.
Gorge Rd was closed on Monday morning as the gum tree outside Nicki Stevens’ home was cut down.
Ms Stevens said the tree was well known in the town.
‘‘Some people have said Clinton was built around the tree,’’Ms Stevens said.
She learned from community members that the late Frank Corbett planted the tree in 1984, she said.
‘‘It’s a milestone for me and Clinton.’’
The tree was estimated to be about 50m tall and needed to be cut down, as maintaining it had become too difficult, she said.
‘‘It is a nuisance because it’s always dropping stuff all over the road.
‘‘Because of where we are, it’s quite dangerous to reach the other side of the road to clean it up.’’
The tree was located on a blind corner near Merrie Creek Rd on State Highway 93.
She had decided enough was enough, she said.
‘‘I wanted to take it down 15 years ago.’’
For 25 years she had lived in the home and her family had a ritual in which they would clean the mess.
‘‘When we first moved here me and my three kids would get out and rake the tree up and take the leaves off the road. We’d do that just about once a month.’’
After a cleanup they would cook marshmallows and chocolate biscuits over a fire created with the wood and leaves they cleaned up, she said.
Arbor South NZ owner Andy Jack said it was a wonder the tree had not been cut down earlier.
‘‘People have been talking about getting it cut down for years,’’ Mr Jack said.
All the wood collected was donated to the Clinton Lions Club and would be distributed around the community.
Club president Callum Wilson said the club was always grateful to receive donations like this.
‘‘We’ll deliver it to all the elderly and people in need in Clinton. It’s very much appreciated,’’ Mr Wilson said.
A team of Lions Club members were on deck to lend a hand to help clean up, he said.
Cutting the tree down had been a community effort.
South Roads, Clinton Lions, Arbor South NZ, Clutha District Council and other community members were all involved in the project.
South Roads closed Merrie Creek Rd while the tree was cut down.
The Clutha District Council paid for the road closure and used the time to repair pot holes.

Standing tall … The gum tree located on Gorge Rd in Clinton was cut down on Monday. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS