Reserves and Reserve Management
Reserves Management Plan
The Selwyn District Council funded the preparation of a Reserves Management Plan (RMP) which was completed in June 2011, containing a considerable amount (130 pages) of information regarding the background, future management and development of reserves in the Village. The document can be accessed on the Selwyn District Council website here.
In brief, the Village has approximately 3.8ha of officially designated reserves. The bulk of these reserves are recreation reserves which collectively incorporate the community facilities such as the hall, the tennis court and the children’s playground, as well as tree-lined paths providing walking access along several routes through the Village (distinct from the roadside paths) and small areas of public open space within the Village.
The reserves are considered important for maintaining the alpine character of the Village. The original Village development was based on a philosophy of small residential sections, generally 350 to 450 m2, set within generous reserves of open space. The sense of rural alpine character and spaciousness thus was intended to be maintained particularly by the trees and spaciousness of the reserves, not unduly divided up by fences barriers. Hence there is a deliberate merging of residential sections with their surrounding reserves.
Trees have been planted to play a large part in the development of an alpine character within the Village reserves. The main plantings have been:
- Mountain Beech (Nothofagus solandri var cliffortioides): This native species grows to approximately 15 metres. It has a medium to dense evergreen canopy. The species is indigenous to the area. The species is not unduly wind tolerant and can suffer severe damage to branches in heavy snow conditions. It is important as a species for attracting bird life into the Village and in future is planned to be the main replacement as exotic conifers are thinned out.
- Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii): On a good site this species can grow to over 50 metres. It has a dense canopy and is evergreen. This species is generally wind firm and has good snow holding/shedding characteristics. They are particularly attractive when snow clad. Their dense needle cover has made them the most important tree in terms of attracting birds to the Village. The largest trees already have attained a height of 25m at approximately age 25.
- European Larch (Larix decidua): This species grows to over 30 metres and is the only deciduous conifer. It has a medium canopy during the summer. The growth and shedding of needles each season provides constant colour changes, with light green foliage in the spring, to medium green in the summer, various shades of gold in the autumn and hoar frosted stems in the winter. Its loss of needles over the winter means that the species does not shade adjacent properties and allows a resumption of views for 4 months of the year. The largest trees have attained a height of 20m at approximately age 25.
- Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta): This species can grow to over 20 metres, is evergreen and has a medium-dense canopy. Trees sets cones as early as age 5 and seeds disperse widely and over long distances, propagating aggressively. The species is therefore the main ‘wilding’ threat in the village. It is not unduly wind tolerant and can suffer severe damage to branches in heavy snow conditions. In the past, the Reserves Committee has encouraged the removal of this species as the first to be thinned from Reserves. The aim of this management plan will be its eventual removal from the village.
- Pinus ponderosa: This species grows to over 35 metres. It has a dense evergreen canopy. The seeds do not disperse readily nor do the seedlings propagate readily. The species has a distinctive bark and a large needle structure that adds diversity to the Reserve plantings in terms of visual amenity values. The largest trees have attained a height of 25m at approximately age 25.
- Silver Birch (Betula pendula): This species grows to over 15 metres. It has a light canopy and is deciduous. Its white coloured bark and deciduous nature adds diversity to the reserves. The pollen associated with flowering raises allergenic responses with many people, and the species should be gradually removed from reserves in the Village.
Impacts of Trees
The trees have both favourable and adverse impacts on life in the Village:
|Alpine appearance||Blocking sun|
|Shelter from wind||Shading|
|Softening lines||Blocking views|
|Improved aesthetics||Potential for damage to property|
|Shade in summer||Wind funnelling|
|Increased Bird life in Village||Frosting|
|Frost/Snow retention as part of winter beauty||Fire potential|
|Play spaces for younger children|
Tree Removals and Replanting
All tree removals on reserves require the permission of the Selwyn District Council. The current procedure to seek removal of trees is:
- A request should then be put in writing to the CHCA Reserves Committee
- The Reserves Committee considers the request (including consultation with neighbours) and puts their recommendation to the CHCA main committee for endorsement
- Following approval, the request is referred onto the Selwyn District Council
- The SDC visits and approves of the removal
- The SDC arranges for an NZQA accredited contractor to undertake felling and disposal
Approximately 10 village residents are now NZQA accredited to undertake tree felling operations in the village, and there is a clear safety management process in place around tree felling on reserves.
Tree felling or de-limbing on reserves by any person who is not on the SDC list of NZQA accredited individuals is strictly prohibited.
The general approach by the CHCA in management of the reserves management plan has been to create smaller clumps of trees with “view corridors” rather than clear cutting of whole stands. Also favoured is to prune off side branches up to say a third of tree height in some stands. Topping of conifers is not favoured. Preference is normally given to clearing Pinus contorta trees first with Douglas fir, Ponderosa pines and larch trees generally retained for longer term growth and later thinning. Conditions of removal may include replanting with mountain beech or other shrub or tree species to ensure a continuity of shrub or tree cover in most locations.