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Community Saves Campbells Bay School Trees

Press Release – Save Campbells Bay School Trees

A community-led campaign to save Campbells Bay Schools iconic roadside pohutukawa trees has succeeded. At a 4th March zoom meeting with Save Campbells Bay School Trees action group, Ministry of Education officials presented a scheme for re-locating …

A community-led campaign to save Campbells Bay School’s iconic roadside pohutukawa trees has succeeded.

At a 4th March zoom meeting with Save Campbells Bay School Trees action group, Ministry of Education officials presented a scheme for re-locating the school’s urgently-needed new classroom block. The revised plan sets the building an additional 4.5 metres back from the school’s road boundary, leaving room for the main stand of five pohutukawa to be retained — following limited root reduction and canopy trimming.

Save Campbells Bay School Trees spokesperson Jenny Chamberlain says the group is delighted with the outcome. “It’s win win for everyone involved. No-one, least of all the school and its community, wanted to lose these magnificent old trees. They are the school’s emblem and have stood guard near the entrance for more than 70 years — generations of students have played on and under them. There will still be some tree loss, which is regrettable, but the school’s signature stand of gentle green giants will remain.”

New teaching spaces to replace tired relocatable classrooms are urgently needed at the popular North Shore school but suitable sites for a large building are scarce. The news of the trees’ imminent demise broke in late November 2020 and the action group formed immediately and had a preliminary meeting with the Ministry on 8th December. There seemed little hope of a resolution. Three months’ publicity, robust lobbying and a groundswell of public support from local residents, past pupils and their families, the wider North Shore community and those who care for trees and the environment swiftly followed. Nearly 5,000 people signed the group’s petition.

The action group hopes their success sets a precedent and encourages MOE to embed environmental principles and actions into future design processes. “Trees should be considered as an integral part of our children’s learning environment,” says Chamberlain. “We need to follow-through on the powerful environmental teachings students are receiving.”

Campbells Bay School is within Takapuna-Devonport Local Board area but marks the southernmost boundary of Hibiscus & Bays Local Board – the area, says Chamberlain, has lost more tree cover than any other in Auckland. “We need to keep our climate-saving trees, plant more of them and reinstate tree protection legislation.”

Arborists confirm the retained pohutukawa will be composted, mulched and irrigated both during and post-construction, which is due to start mid to late April. Chamberlain says campaigners are grateful for the massive public support they received. “Everyone who signed the petition helped the right decision to be reached. A huge thank you too to the school’s BOT for its patience and to the MOE for listening and for creating a workable, ecologically-sound design alternative. By working together we can leave a legacy for future generations and for the planet.”

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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