HDC dealing with wood debris

The Hastings District Council is employing the most cost-effective way to remove fallen and damaged trees due to Cyclone Gabrielle, says council public spaces and building assets manager Colin Hosford.

Hosford was responding to Friends of Tainui Reserve co-ordinator Jessica Maxwell who, in an email to friends of Tainui reserve, mentioned the council was chipping thousands of dollars’ worth of trees which could have been cut up and taken away to sell or given away for firewood.

She mentioned walking through Keirunga and seeing a “huge pine” put through a chipper and seeing “massive amounts of chipping” at Tainui. 

When this was put to the council Hosford said the council had been working through an “enormous number” of fallen and damaged trees due to Cyclone Gabrielle.

“The removal has cost a substantial amount as contractors seek to get parks safe and accessible for the public to enjoy,” he said.

“Council has been employing the most cost-effective means of removal, depending on location.”

Hosford said many of the Havelock North reserves had limited access opportunities due to the track surfaces, wet ground conditions and difficult remote locations.

“The Keirunga tree is at the top end of the reserve and was not accessible to any vehicles except for the caterpillar tracked chipper and excavator.

“The most cost-effective way of dealing with the logs has been to chip them near the failure point and we will use the chip and mulch on nearby planned replanting. Any remaining mulch will be used in the reserve.”

Maxwell questioned the council not making the vast quantity of timber available in multiple locations free to the public for firewood or let community groups have it to distribute free to needy people.

In response Hosford said the large logs at Tainui, which will be accessible to large machinery once the area dries out, would be transported to Council’s yard where service groups can safely access them for community firewood projects.

“Due to public safety concerns, and a lack of suitable easy and safe-to-access locations, we do not leave large piles of logs open to public access. The uncontrolled use of chainsaws and other cutting gear puts Council and the community at risk of causing serious injury.

“It should also be noted that the chip is not wasted. Not only is it spread under trees and on gardens across the whole district, but it is also incorporated into the landfill operations as a vital ingredient in binding other non-organic minced storm damaged waste that goes to landfill.”

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