13 Jan 2016

Giant tree owner to sleep a little easier

3:03 pm on 13 January 2016

The owner of an Auckland property on which a protected tree is being felled is looking forward to sleeping easier after five years of living in fear of falling branches, he says.

A Norfolk Pine in suburban Waikato.

A Norfolk Pine in suburban Waikato. Photo: 123RF

The giant Norfolk pine tree on James Gilderdale's Heritage New Zealand-listed property in Mount Albert has been at the centre of an Environment Court dispute.

Mr Gilderdale says the court was unable to give a complete ruling on it, so on Friday, the Auckland Council had the final say in granting him permission to take it down.

A team of arborists started the job early this morning - after Mr Gilderdale's $65,000-$700,000 battle for permission to remove it.

Mr Gilderdale said he would sleep easier with it gone.

"We've had branches coming off consistently for the last five years. The worst incident, where it came into the house, was in 2014 and then I've had further branches come down in 2015," he said.

"I've been sitting on my sofa and a 150kg branch has come crashing through a concrete tile roof, through a thick gib ceiling and stopped about 1.5m from my head.

"Now when you've had that happen in your life, you shake for multiple days."

Mr Gilderdale said he had been afraid it would happen again every time the wind blew around his Woodward Road property.

A resource consent hearing could cost up to $30,000, and it could cost another $10,000 to fell such a tree, and Mr Gilderdale said the Auckland Council should make the process a lot easier.