A protest has broken out in a residential street in Hamilton Hill in the hopes of saving one of the last tuart trees in the area.
At 7am on Saturday morning, tree lobbers began cutting down the tree on BP owned land on Healy Street before they were stopped by local residents who have since set up camp on the vacant block.
Professional activist Sean “Roley” Gransch has been sleeping in the tree ever since, and has said that he won’t be leaving until they have been guaranteed that the tree will stay put.
“We need to start getting together and organising within our communities to start saving these trees because it’s really, really fundamentally important for our own health and for the health of our children and our future generations that haven’t even been born yet,” Roley said.
“There’s absolutely everything we can do about it – we can get off our bums and start waving our hands around.”
The community have all been pitching in whether it is sitting around protesting, making signs or bringing food and hot water bottles to Roley and others staying on the property.
Mayor Logan Howlett and Greens member Lynn MacLaren are also amongst the many people supporting the protest.
BP media relations manager, Jamie Jardine, has said that the decision to remove the tree was not BP’s but a builder who is planning to build on the land.
“A builder contacted BP some weeks ago and advised that because their proposed development was so close to the boundary between their block and BP’s land they would need to cut through the tree roots as part of their development,” Mr Jardine said.
“BP asked for external advice and the advice was that if the developer cut the root system the tree would become unstable and could fall on neighbouring houses.”
“In the circumstances, where people and property could be at risk - including our pipeline - BP was left with no other option other than to remove the tree.”
Mr Jardine also added that following the local protest, BP hopes that a solution can be found that suits all parties involved.