The Ashburton District Council will next week begin removing several trees along Cass Street in the Ashburton CBD and will later replace them with new trees as part of the extensive CBD streetscape upgrades.
Progress is now well underway on Cass Street to revitalise the area which includes new gardens and rain gardens, wider footpaths and the creation of one-way roads onto Burnett and Tancred Streets.
Initial plans for the street were to remove five of the juvenile Pin Oaks, but further arborist inspections found the remaining six trees would be unsuitable and potentially dangerous if left to grow to their full height.
The trees had been encroaching on adjacent buildings and once pruned back have become unbalanced on one side and have started to lean over the road. There are concerns that once fully grown, their unbalanced weight would cause the trees to fall.
There are additional concerns about the health of the tree roots, with assessments showing they are all bound within the planter boxes which would impede the trees' lifespan.
Council Infrastructure Services Group Manager Neil McCann says, "The CBD streetscape project is a major overhaul of the look and feel of the town centre, and trees and greenery have always been an integral part of the new look designs.
"Unfortunately, not all existing trees can remain where they are, but we will be replacing them and in some cases will also plant additional trees in the area.
"We hadn't intended to remove all 11 Pin Oaks, but have taken on board the arborist's recommendations and want to ensure the safety of our community."
Work to remove the Pin Oaks will begin on Monday 17 August.