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Published: 2007-03-23 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is today felling a number of dangerously unstable trees on the edge of Lake Karapiro, which pose a threat to people’s safety.

About 30 gum and eucalyptus trees, ranging in height from 25-40m, have been identified as safety hazards. They are growing along a 100m stretch of Crown land near the starting area of the 2000m Lake Karapiro rowing course.

“Two trees fell onto the rowing course last weekend and a report from a tree specialist shows there is a high risk more could fall at any time,” Environment Waikato’s acting navigation safety manager Shelley Monrad said.

The report, by Hamilton company Treescape, identifies erosion under and around the root system of the trees and visible decay on all trees within the lake’s waterline.

“Due to the location of the trees and fluctuating water levels undermining the root systems and unstable ground on elevated trees, these trees are at a very high risk of failing at any given time,” it says.

Ms Monrad said the council had to act quickly to remove the trees because the Maadi Cup rowing regatta, involving nearly 2000 competitors from schools around New Zealand, is to be held at Lake Karapiro next week.

“These trees pose a significant threat to the children and officials who will be involved in the regatta,” she said.

“They could fall into rowing lanes, onto the starting tower, or onto a temporary floating platform where children will wait before their races.”

Environment Waikato will replace the felled trees with appropriate native species selected to ensure they will not pose a risk to lake users when they reach maturity.