The public are continuing to ignore signs telling them to keep out of the Cape Wanbrow pine forest.
Contractors have been felling the cape’s storm damaged trees for several months, but in spite of repeated requests for the public to keep out, as well as signage, they are still going there.
“The public are completely excluded from the area and there’s no excuse for people going in there,” said Alan Laurie, of Laurie Forestry, which is felling the trees on behalf of the Waitaki District Council.
Mr Laurie said the sub-contractors were concerned about the public’s attitude. In November sub-contractors, Brian and Daniel Presnall who are clearing the trees, said a major blaze in the plantation was narrowly averted after people had lit a large bonfire in an old gun emplacement in the reserve.
“It’s just an ongoing issue,” Mr Laurie said.
He estimated that approximately half the trees have been felled and it would take another six weeks or so to complete the job.
The plantation was to have been felled in 2015 but after storm damage last year the council decided to start earlier. The cape is a popular recreation area and has been closed to public access since June.
The council will decide early this year the future replanting and landscaping of the area in a reserve management plan which will be open for public consultation.
By CHRIS TOBIN