Workers from Baker Tree Services taking down the first two ironwood trees in 2021. 21051105
Avarua is getting an extensive $120,000, 12-month programme of flora revitalising, tree planting and maintenance.
Cook Islands News asked the Cook
Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) what it will cost.
It was confirmed an initial
assessment cost $15,000, followed by an $80,000 price tag for labour and
$25,000 for a nursery and tree planting programme.
In a statement CIIC said tree
maintenance work and new nursery trees and plants formed part of Te Tau Papa O
Avarua project which is funded by the Cook Islands Infrastructure Trust Fund.
Work will cover the Avarua township,
Punanga Nui Market, Avatiu Wharf and Panama Reserve areas as part of CIIC’s
overarching Avarua Town Plan Te Tau Papa O Avarua.
The main purpose of the work is to
“revitalise the township’s flora landscape including eliminating any public
safety hazards and to help preserve those trees identified as healthy, as well
as their surrounding environments”, CIIC said in a statement.
To help accomplish this, earlier
this year local company Baker Tree Services was engaged to conduct a detailed
and comprehensive stocktake and health assessment of all 506 trees within the
above-mentioned public areas.
In completing this stocktake,
Baker Trees have documented the species, size and common or Cook Islands Maori
names of each tree. In addition, they have assessed what risks (if any) each
tree presents and advised what actions they believe are necessary for both
safety reasons and to best preserve the health of each tree.
CIIC chief executive Allan Jensen
said: “The importance of flora, trees and plants is indisputably of the utmost
importance to our way of life and Government priorities. The planting of more
than fifty new trees and several hundred new plants is also planned under Te
Tau Papa O Avarua. Plants and trees from our nursery in Harley Street, where a
variety are being grown and nurtured, will be utilised throughout the town
areas over the next 12-months - once our planting schedule has been finalised.”
Of the 506 trees assessed, 170 are
in the Avarua township area as measured from the start of the median strip
outside The Bond Store, all the way through town to the Vaikapuangi Stream next
to Trader Jack’s. It is throughout this area that the necessary tree
maintenance works will first commence, starting from Avarua East Park, seaside
of the Banana Court.
Baker Trees had advised that there
are five trees in this area – less than 3 per cent of the total – which required
removal, four of which are suffering from major rot, with one already
completely dead. Two of these trees are toa ironwood (including the dead one),
while three are pu‘au sea hibiscus.
“The remaining 165 trees require
varying levels of care, ranging from no actions required, through to trimming,
topping or limb removal in the case of particularly heavy or rotting limbs.
De-nutting has also been recommended for roughly a dozen coconut trees,” CIIC
In addition to these five
throughout the Avarua Township area, 13 of the 183 trees in the Panama Reserve
area have also been slated for removal at a later date. All 153 trees
throughout the Punanga Nui Market and Avatiu Wharf area currently require
limited if any attention.
“Outside of the abovementioned
areas, two palm trees and two coconut trees in the vicinity of the Banana Court
are also planned for removal, with costs to be covered by the Banana Court
Company. There is also an additional tree on Constitution Drive that has been
assessed as requiring removal as well.
“In all cases, the preservation of
native trees wherever possible is a top priority for CIIC, except where public
safety is an issue.”