Whakatāne District Council Complete Ōhope Tree Assessment Programme
Homeowners along the Ōhope escarpment are now better informed of any potential risks, following the completion of a new programme by Whakatāne District Council.
The Ōhope Tree Assessment Programme focused on the cliff face along Pohutakawa Ave and West End.
For properties whose owners consented to the programme, it involved a preliminary visual assessment of the cliff face, a detailed physical assessment of the trees by arborists and rope access specialists, and an assessment by geotechnical engineers of the slope and land supporting the trees. Specialist reports were then compiled, and quality assurance reviews were completed on the findings.
Strategic Project Manager Jeff Farrell says, the reports, which have been released to relevant property owners, provide a risk score to identify low, medium or high-risk sites and recommended mitigation measures where required.
“This now enables owners to take measures to manage any risks that have been identified on their properties, or on neighbouring properties, in the hope of keeping people and property safe.” Farrell says.
Farrell adds, “Going forward it is important all owners of the escarpment work together to minimise risk to people and property, while ensuring where possible the overall landscape of the escarpment is retained.”
Council General Manage Community Experience, Georgina Fletcher says, “our residents, their wellbeing, and their properties are of the utmost importance, so it was vital we undertook this work to take the mystery out of the situation and really get a good handle on what we’re all dealing with here and bring to the surface awareness of any imminent risk.”
“The Ōhope Escarpment Tree Assessment Programme recognises the history of slope and tree failures that have occurred in Ōhope which have threatened people and property, and that climate change predictions forecast an increasing frequency of storm events which typically act as triggers for landslides and tree failures.” Fletcher says.