The Rotorua Lakes Council were warned in 2002 that the 150-year-old Spencer’s Oak tree was rotten within. But 16 years later, it was still there. When gale force winds swept through the town on January 6, 2018, the tree fell onto the road and crushed 56-year-old Trish Butterworth, killing her. A coroner’s inquest found that there were multiple opportunities for the tree to have been identified as a risk, but vital information was missed due to incomplete record-keeping ahead of the fatal accident. READ MORE:Police slammed from beyond the grave over Rotorua tree deathWaikato Council debates the importance of protected treesQueenstown Council ignored advice on managing risky poplar trees Spencer’s Oak had been owned by the council since 1991. In 2002, the council commissioned a report from Wakeling & Associates, which identified several major problems. “The Oaktree contained a large cavity which was very deep filled with concrete and pumice,” the report read. “There may have been a decay pocket in the root system or in the heart of the oakwood.” But that information got lost. Tree surgeons Arbor Care then were hired by the council to inspect the tree on two occasions in 2007 and 2017. The council never provided… Read full this story
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