Keep out of plantation, warns logger

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People are continuing to walk through the wind damaged Cape Wanbred pine tree reserve in South Oamaru to the concern of logging contractors.

“We’re mightily concerned regarding health and safety,” Allan Laurie of Laurie

Forestry, the forest managers for the Waitaki District Council said.

“We’re still getting people walking through, some walking their dogs. The realisation

of the danger is not there. We’ve had difficulty stopping people coming in.”

Waitaki District Council property manager Graeme Pointon said people should stay out.

“It is a very dangerous situation and council would prefer they (the public) would not be in there.”

The plantation trees were severely damaged in a ‘big-blow’ on September 10 and Mr Laurie said the damage was often not apparent but many tops of trees had been blown out, including side branches which have been hanging precariously ever since.

He estimated 10 per cent of the trees were carrying dangerous debris as a result of

the wind damage.

A three-man crew has been logging the site since early October and as from today (Thurs) the work will intensify with a four-man team joining them.

“We’ve got some serious equipment going in there,” Mr Laurie said.

Signs have been erected warning people not to walk through the forest area but these were being ignored.

“We’ll be a lot sterner,” he warned.

He hoped the work of clearing all the trees could be completed in time for the Christmas holiday period but he expected this could be “a long ask”.

By Chris Tobin