Work has begun on logging Cape Wanbrow.
Laurie Forestry will clear the site with two crews, one of three men and the second of four.
The first crew has already arrived on site and the second crew will start in around two weeks.
Allan Laurie, principal of Laurie Forestry, said the two crews will use a “ground-based” method, with a Bell logger, a skidder and a digger excavator.
“Most of the trees are 30-plus years old and are good quality, in spite of the site not being ideal for trees of this species,” he said.
“While some may find their way to export markets, local sawmills will also be supplied.”
The two logging crews will operate simultaneously, one working from the top and one from the bottom.
Weather and conditions permitting, the work will take about six to eight weeks and the stumps will be left to become part of the forest environment.
Mr Laurie said the aim was to get the work done and track reopened as soon as possible.
Waitaki District Council (WDC) assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said council had no option but to harvest the trees as the damage was considerable and the risk to recreational users of the Cape could not be mitigated.
“I have been told the block was all but flattened in a wind storm in the mid-1970s, after it was replanted,” he said.
“The trees are probably at a similar stage of life now and I am informed that trees of this size are not well suited to the weather and soil conditions at the Cape.”
Mr Jorgensen said council will prepare an updated landscape concept plan for discussion with the community.
“The plan will build on a concept plan which was prepared for council in 2011,” he said.
“The 2011 plan allowed for a number of clear viewing areas, native and exotic plantings of various sizes, as well as walking and mountain bike tracks.”
Waitaki Concerned Citizens and Ratepayers Association chairman Warren Crawford said, in his opinion, it was ‘okay’ to cut down the trees, but he hoped people would have an opportunity to consult on the future of the tracks and the planting plan.
“I would like to see the planting done without too much delay because of the possible risk of erosion,” he said.
By Jacquie Webby