Gael Baldock: Fact or fiction

The opinion piece in the last issue on Western Springs was based on a lack of research orevidence.

Auckland Council website contains these reports and documents that refute that article. A summation of links is available in the pinned post on Facebook page 'Protect Te Wai Ōrea'.

Auckland Council commissioned an 'Independent Risk Assessment' by 'The Tree Consultancy Company' that proved wrong their original arborist, Gerald Collett, who said the Monterey Pines were "dead and dying". But Waitematā Local Board Chair Richard Northey, Councillor Pippa Coom, and their acolytes tediously repeat this misinformation.

This almost a cult-like belief, being pushed by some people, that somehow introduced trees, except for those that feed humans, need to pay the price for colonisation by pakeha ancestors. The birds don't give a flying fig about these silly ideas. That's not how nature sees it, nor do indigenous cultures, including traditional Maori philosophy, with the belief in the interconnectedness of all life on this planet.

WLB Member Graeme Gunthorp tweeted the truth that 200 trees in Western Springs Forest, at 100 years were 2/3 of the way through their life and 1/4 of the trees were dangerous. However, his decision that it was fiscally responsible to remove them all at once has also been proven wrong, with the cost over $1.8million.

The forest at Western Springs has been destroyed unnecessarily.

There has been a loss of 30% of urban ngahere in the Waitematā Ward, removed mostly by Council, since the National Government removed Tree Protection. Evidence can be found in Auckland Council's 'Urban Ngahere Plan' and the results of the 'Aerial Lidar Mapping System Report'.

Moving on we have to create a new canopy to bring back the birds. Auckland Council are failing on that too.

The overland watercourses haven't been returned. The correct trees that like 'wet feet' haven't been planted. Auckland Council's soil register deems this hillside 'fill/weak', yet Waitematā Local Board want to put a 'loop track' down one of these fragile valleys, to encourage off road cyclists into this 'Significant Ecological Area'.

It's ironic that the protectors of this forest were bought together by local artist, Annette Isbey, after mountain bikers were threatened with trespass order in July 2007 after they created a 250 metre long illegal trail the year before. A decision needs to be made whether this sport or the ecology is more important, again.

Gael Baldock, Community Advocate

Published 1 October 2021