Three mature Pohutukawa trees on the cliff behind the Liberty Centre on Wairaka Road are to be removed next week for safety reasons.

The removal is taking place following a detailed assessment of large trees and potential hazards associated with these trees as part of a wider Council project.

The works are being carried out under the Emergency Works provisions of the Resource Management Act. This is because the assessment of the trees shows they are on a slope that geotechnical reports have classified as unstable, and would be likely to cause injury and/or loss of life to people, or serious damage to property if they fell.

The work will take place during the week of January 20-24. Qualified arborist and rock scaling contractors will manually remove the loose rock and trees from the rock face. Road closures are not necessary as the work is confined to the church property. 

Drone footage will be taken before and after the tree removal so the cliff site can be monitored over time.

Mike Naude, Group Manager Community Services, said it was unfortunate that the Pohutukawa trees had to be removed, but the Council has a duty of care to act where safety is concerned.

“There are likely to be more large trees such as these that will need to be removed in future from some of the other sites studied. However, the Council recognises the value of trees to Whakatāne residents, our native wildlife and our overall environment, and will do whatever we can to minimise the impact from these necessary safety works.”