Untrussed tree tiff

The cork tree on Central Drive had its branches cut down.

Neighbours on Central Drive in Camps Bay are up in arms that City parks cut huge branches from an exotic cork tree in the area last week.

Marilyn Coulstock, said the nearly 100-year-old tree was full of bird life which had been missing since the cutting.

There’s currently construction work under way on the site and the City was instructed by the owner to cut off the big branches. “They could have trimmed it, but not cut down huge branches that will never grow again. It took them three days to take the wood away,” said Ms Coulstock, who accused developers of not caring about the environment.

“We need people in the area, as it develops, to be more cognizant of the environment because it was what attracted them in the first place and before we know it, it might just disappear,” she said.

The chairperson of the Camps BayandCliftonResidents’ andRatepayers’Association (CBCRRA), Chris Willemse, said they were against the cutting of the protected trees that have been in the area for decades. He said when he spoke to the City, he was told the tree had to be cut.

“The developer said they had a problem with the tree because it was hanging over the boundary wall,” he said.

Construction foreman, Jonathan Rihs, said the big branches had made it impossible for them to work.

“We could work with it, but it made our work a lot more difficult so to save us hassles, the client made arrangements to have the tree branches cut down,” he said.

Another resident, Lucinda Dare, shared Ms Coulstock’s sentiments that the tree should have been trimmed instead, and recalled that when she was having her house built, she was not allowed to cut a tree that was in the way.

“We had to build around the tree because it was protected and needed to be preserved and now my walls are cracking because the roots have become so big. But I love the tree; it does help the neighbourhood,” she said.

The City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, said after an assessment, the City’s recreation and parks department had decided that “corrective pruning” would be a more viable solution than removal and subsequently pruned the branches of the tree that were up against the property wall.

“The owner requested the removal of the tree as she is currently in the process of renovating the property and the said tree encroaches upon the boundary wall.

“This was deemed necessary as the contractors working on the renovations of the property were unable to safely erect the scaffolding required to work on the front side of the building. The branches would also have continued to damage the outer walls of the building if left untrimmed,” he said.