Hotops Rise Tree Removal

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Over the past couple of months we’ve been getting ready to build a cycle path next to the Hotops Rise footpath as part of our wider Queenstown Town Centre street upgrade programme. The new cycle path will provide a key link from the Frankton Track to the centre of town (via Park Street and Camp Street) and make it far safer and more enjoyable to cycle and use other non-motorised transport options. To make room for the trail, we will need to remove 22 Wilding Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) trees and 16 native trees. However, we will replace them with new native species.

Trees are an important part of every community. They increase our quality of life, contribute to our environmental health and provide a peaceful and beautiful setting for everyone to enjoy. We're now reviewing feedback and will update you on next steps soon.


About the cycle path project

The new cycle path is part of the wider Queenstown Town Centre Street Upgrade programme and will make it far safer and more enjoyable to cycle and use other non-motorised transport options, supporting a more sustainable transport network for Wakatipu. It's also part of a wider Active Travel Network which will provide better links for walking and cycling right across Wakatipu.

The alignment was considered through the Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan process in 2017 and is shown in blue below. It was chosen for a number of important reasons:

  • It provides safer gradients, particularly important for less confident cyclists and on those icy winter days.
  • It is a direct route that will connect the new shared path on Park Street with the town centre, reducing travel time for commuting cyclists.
  • The alignment doesn’t impact rare and important specimen trees in the Gardens.
  • It is the least ‘engineered’ option, with lower retaining walls and fewer guard rails than other options considered (more on this in the fact sheet).
  • It is the most affordable option.

Click on the plan above for a larger PDF version.


Tree removal and replanting plan

The removal of some trees along Hotops Rise has been planned for a couple of years now. In March 2019 we received design drawings for the new path and at the time we shared these drawings with a range of people for feedback. The general consensus was that while it was a shame to lose some trees in the area, most of them were Douglas fir or in poor health, and the reasons for doing so were acceptable. In 2020, the Queenstown Gardens Development Plan was adopted by Council following community consultation. The development plan includes the removal of the Douglas fir below Hotops Rise.

In 2020 we felt incredibly fortunate to receive $35m from the Government’s Crown Infrastructure Partners ‘Shovel Ready’ Fund to progress the town centre street upgrades. Once we got to the point of moving in to construction, we consulted our construction experts and arborist and realised that when we start construction and removing these trees, the root structure and safety of some trees is affected and other native species would need to be removed.

At this point we pressed pause on the project to make sure we were comfortable with the approach. Since then we have considered alternative alignments for the path and developed a wide spread native replanting plan. This provides an opportunity to commence native planting to succeed the Douglas firs in the Queenstown Gardens earlier than was signalled in the Queenstown Gardens Development Plan 2020. It will also mean that any new native planting has the best possible chance of success.

As part of our replanting plan, we are committed to ensuring the new native planting thrives.


Tree removal:

A total of 38 trees are earmarked for removal, as shown on the plan below.

These are mainly mature Douglas fir trees that were originally planted as a wind break and timber resource for the local community. The original intention of Guardians of the Reserve group (a group established to protect the area from development in the 1980s) was for these to be succeeded with other plantings after the timber was harvested.

Not all of the trees earmarked for removal are Douglas fir, there is also an amelanchier, cotoneaster, cypress, cherry, elm and several beech trees that must also be removed.

Amongst the Beech trees there are some that were already earmarked for future removal due to their poor structural form. A number of shrubs will also be removed.

Removing the wilding species and replacing them with natives in this area is in line with Queenstown Gardens Development Plan 2020. This project provides an opportunity to bring forward the replanting programme.

Click on the plan above for a larger PDF version.


Proposed replanting plan:

A native replanting plan has been prepared which aims to replace trees at a rate greater than the number being removed. This will support the Queenstown Gardens Development Plan vision to open up views in the area and further develop the native garden area adjacent to Hotops Rise.

The species selected are predominantly Northofagus species (Mountain/Siver Beech), Podocarpus cunninnghamii (Halls’s Totara), Plagianthus regius (Manatu / Ribbonwood). These species are also within the wider Street Upgrades tree palate.


Click on the plan above for a larger PDF version.


Making sure we comply with appropriate policies:

Any tree removal we do must comply with our Tree Policy and the Reserves Act.

  • Reserves Act Section 42(2) and (3) – The Reserves Act permits tree removal in certain circumstances. In this case, the Council as the reserve administering body is satisfied that the cutting is necessary for the proper management and maintenance of the reserve, preservation of other trees or bush and in the interests of the safety of persons on or near the reserve.

  • Queenstown Gardens Reserve Management Plan (RMP) Policy 17 – Permits the removal of trees where they are dead or dying, suppressing or inhibiting growth of more desirable specimen trees or vegetation of greater interest to the public, where there is unnecessary duplication of a species, and where they are a danger to public safety.

  • QLDC Tree Policy 2010 Policy 4.4.1.2(a) – Council shall consult with affected parties before any major tree removal is undertaken.

Our work must also be aligned to other relevant plans. For example:

  • The removal of Wilding Species is recommended in our Climate Action Plan
  • Improved walking and cycling connections and facilities are included in our Climate Action Plan, Active Travel Network Business Case and Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan
  • Vision Beyond 2050 promotes active travel as an integral part of a sustainable transport system
  • We proudly support the Whakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group to remove the pest trees from our environment
  • The opportunity for native replanting in this specific area is included in the Queenstown Garden Development Plan

We've provided links to these policies, along with a number of other relevant documents - check out the 'important links' section on the right hand side of this page.


Frequently asked questions

We've compiled some frequently asked questions - you can download these from the link below. If you have a question that hasn't been answered here, please ask it below and we'll get a response published as soon as possible.

>> Frequently Asked Questions: Hotops Rise Cycle Path - Tree removal and replanting plan


What are we seeking your feedback on?

We have consulted with the community about the removal of the Douglas fir trees through the Queenstown Gardens Development Plan.

This part of the process sought community feedback on the removal of the 16 native trees near the Hotops Rise Cycle Path and the proposed replanting plan.

Feedback closed on Friday 23 July 2021.


How will your feedback be used?

Feedback will be collated and considered by the design team, then presented to the Community and Services committee on 19 August 2021.

Over the past couple of months we’ve been getting ready to build a cycle path next to the Hotops Rise footpath as part of our wider Queenstown Town Centre street upgrade programme. The new cycle path will provide a key link from the Frankton Track to the centre of town (via Park Street and Camp Street) and make it far safer and more enjoyable to cycle and use other non-motorised transport options. To make room for the trail, we will need to remove 22 Wilding Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) trees and 16 native trees. However, we will replace them with new native species.

Trees are an important part of every community. They increase our quality of life, contribute to our environmental health and provide a peaceful and beautiful setting for everyone to enjoy. We're now reviewing feedback and will update you on next steps soon.


About the cycle path project

The new cycle path is part of the wider Queenstown Town Centre Street Upgrade programme and will make it far safer and more enjoyable to cycle and use other non-motorised transport options, supporting a more sustainable transport network for Wakatipu. It's also part of a wider Active Travel Network which will provide better links for walking and cycling right across Wakatipu.

The alignment was considered through the Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan process in 2017 and is shown in blue below. It was chosen for a number of important reasons:

  • It provides safer gradients, particularly important for less confident cyclists and on those icy winter days.
  • It is a direct route that will connect the new shared path on Park Street with the town centre, reducing travel time for commuting cyclists.
  • The alignment doesn’t impact rare and important specimen trees in the Gardens.
  • It is the least ‘engineered’ option, with lower retaining walls and fewer guard rails than other options considered (more on this in the fact sheet).
  • It is the most affordable option.

Click on the plan above for a larger PDF version.


Tree removal and replanting plan

The removal of some trees along Hotops Rise has been planned for a couple of years now. In March 2019 we received design drawings for the new path and at the time we shared these drawings with a range of people for feedback. The general consensus was that while it was a shame to lose some trees in the area, most of them were Douglas fir or in poor health, and the reasons for doing so were acceptable. In 2020, the Queenstown Gardens Development Plan was adopted by Council following community consultation. The development plan includes the removal of the Douglas fir below Hotops Rise.

In 2020 we felt incredibly fortunate to receive $35m from the Government’s Crown Infrastructure Partners ‘Shovel Ready’ Fund to progress the town centre street upgrades. Once we got to the point of moving in to construction, we consulted our construction experts and arborist and realised that when we start construction and removing these trees, the root structure and safety of some trees is affected and other native species would need to be removed.

At this point we pressed pause on the project to make sure we were comfortable with the approach. Since then we have considered alternative alignments for the path and developed a wide spread native replanting plan. This provides an opportunity to commence native planting to succeed the Douglas firs in the Queenstown Gardens earlier than was signalled in the Queenstown Gardens Development Plan 2020. It will also mean that any new native planting has the best possible chance of success.

As part of our replanting plan, we are committed to ensuring the new native planting thrives.


Tree removal:

A total of 38 trees are earmarked for removal, as shown on the plan below.

These are mainly mature Douglas fir trees that were originally planted as a wind break and timber resource for the local community. The original intention of Guardians of the Reserve group (a group established to protect the area from development in the 1980s) was for these to be succeeded with other plantings after the timber was harvested.

Not all of the trees earmarked for removal are Douglas fir, there is also an amelanchier, cotoneaster, cypress, cherry, elm and several beech trees that must also be removed.

Amongst the Beech trees there are some that were already earmarked for future removal due to their poor structural form. A number of shrubs will also be removed.

Removing the wilding species and replacing them with natives in this area is in line with Queenstown Gardens Development Plan 2020. This project provides an opportunity to bring forward the replanting programme.

Click on the plan above for a larger PDF version.


Proposed replanting plan:

A native replanting plan has been prepared which aims to replace trees at a rate greater than the number being removed. This will support the Queenstown Gardens Development Plan vision to open up views in the area and further develop the native garden area adjacent to Hotops Rise.

The species selected are predominantly Northofagus species (Mountain/Siver Beech), Podocarpus cunninnghamii (Halls’s Totara), Plagianthus regius (Manatu / Ribbonwood). These species are also within the wider Street Upgrades tree palate.


Click on the plan above for a larger PDF version.


Making sure we comply with appropriate policies:

Any tree removal we do must comply with our Tree Policy and the Reserves Act.

  • Reserves Act Section 42(2) and (3) – The Reserves Act permits tree removal in certain circumstances. In this case, the Council as the reserve administering body is satisfied that the cutting is necessary for the proper management and maintenance of the reserve, preservation of other trees or bush and in the interests of the safety of persons on or near the reserve.

  • Queenstown Gardens Reserve Management Plan (RMP) Policy 17 – Permits the removal of trees where they are dead or dying, suppressing or inhibiting growth of more desirable specimen trees or vegetation of greater interest to the public, where there is unnecessary duplication of a species, and where they are a danger to public safety.

  • QLDC Tree Policy 2010 Policy 4.4.1.2(a) – Council shall consult with affected parties before any major tree removal is undertaken.

Our work must also be aligned to other relevant plans. For example:

  • The removal of Wilding Species is recommended in our Climate Action Plan
  • Improved walking and cycling connections and facilities are included in our Climate Action Plan, Active Travel Network Business Case and Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan
  • Vision Beyond 2050 promotes active travel as an integral part of a sustainable transport system
  • We proudly support the Whakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group to remove the pest trees from our environment
  • The opportunity for native replanting in this specific area is included in the Queenstown Garden Development Plan

We've provided links to these policies, along with a number of other relevant documents - check out the 'important links' section on the right hand side of this page.


Frequently asked questions

We've compiled some frequently asked questions - you can download these from the link below. If you have a question that hasn't been answered here, please ask it below and we'll get a response published as soon as possible.

>> Frequently Asked Questions: Hotops Rise Cycle Path - Tree removal and replanting plan


What are we seeking your feedback on?

We have consulted with the community about the removal of the Douglas fir trees through the Queenstown Gardens Development Plan.

This part of the process sought community feedback on the removal of the 16 native trees near the Hotops Rise Cycle Path and the proposed replanting plan.

Feedback closed on Friday 23 July 2021.


How will your feedback be used?

Feedback will be collated and considered by the design team, then presented to the Community and Services committee on 19 August 2021.