Legal letter challenges crabapple trees

Danger alert. . . Safety barriers guard the sites on Gore’s Main St where redwood trees have been removed to make way for crabapple trees. A petition organised by Gore resident Peter Woods and signed by about 140 business owners requesting car parks be returned to the area instead of more trees being planted was presented to the Gore District Council last month. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The next chapter of Gore’s crabapple tree saga will be written today.
In 2021 Gore District councillors approved the plan to remove redwood trees in the town’s Main St, which were getting too big, and replace them with crabapple trees.
Three crabapples on the west side of Main St were planted last year and councillors approved the next stage of the plan to do the same on the east side of the street.
The replacement trees were bought at the start of the year, the redwoods removed and the holes dug about two months ago.
Safety barriers have been up around each site.
Today an emergency meeting of the council has been called to consider a letter from A.B. Gray and Associates about the crabapple trees.
Acting mayor Keith Hovell said in a statement on Friday, the letter challenged the legitimacy of a council resolution regarding the planting of crabapple trees in Gore’s Main St, passed unanimously at a meeting held last week. .
The letter was from Gore lawyer David Gray, acting on behalf of Peter Woods.
At a council meeting on October 10, Mr Woods presented a petition with more than 140 signatures from business owners and staff in the Gore business area, pushing for carparks and not trees.
Councillors voted to call a halt to the planting of the crabapples until a public survey could be completed.
However, at last week’s council meeting , councillors backed a resolution tabled by Cr Glenys Dickson.
The amendment was to immediately start planting the trees, given the costs already incurred and mounting daily on the project.
It was costing the council $300 a day as everything lay idle.
Council parks and recreation manager Keith McRobie said the council was acutely aware of the need to restore the parks and Main St before the Christmas retail rush began.
It was planned to start on Friday but the letter from Mr Gray led to a halt.
It is hoped the emergency meeting will resolve any issues.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency instructed the council on Friday to extend the barriers to take up another parking space, as it had concerns about the recent publicity and health and safety, Mr McRobie said.
That had led to the loss of three parking spaces instead of two.