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Homeowner illegally removes heritage tree | Rosebank Killarney Gazette


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Homeowner illegally removes heritage tree

PARKHURST – Homeowner to pay a hefty fine for illegally removing a tree.

Lethu Nxumalo | 

A heritage tree cut down by a homeowner in Parkhurst.

 

A heritage tree has allegedly been destroyed by a homeowner doing renovations on 12th Street in Parkhurst.

A number of residents expressed their anger and frustration over the apparent blatant disregard of bylaws by the homeowner.

“The tree has finally been decimated. Shame on this owner or developer,” said a resident, Peter Huebscher in an email. “I sincerely trust they shall not be allowed to get away with this.”

The tree was cut down in phases and only a stump remains.

Another resident, Jennifer Crwys-Williams took to Facebook to raise her concerns and mentioned that she had reported the matter to the relevant authorities.

The post received a number of responses with residents crying foul calling for the naming and shaming of the homeowner.

“Once a tree is destroyed, all the fines in the world won’t bring it back,” read Lyn Collocott’s response to the post. “I think it is time for us all to take a stand, get involved in the residents association, stop the destruction of trees, speeding through the suburbs by political cavalcades and other anti-community activities.”

Other residents, who were seeing red, pointed a finger at the developer claiming he was responsible for the removal of the tree.

The cutting down of the tree began late last year when renovations began at a private residence.

However, when contacted, Alarick Joseph owner of Urban Design Architecture expressed his disappointment at the allegations and said his business was only contracted to be involved in the renovations of the home.

“It has been brought to my attention that several negative remarks on social media were made by certain individuals associating Urban Design Architecture with the removal of the tree,” said Joseph. “We believe that slandering comments have been made about our company and the project without contacting us in order to get background or doing due diligence.”

He went on to say that the company obtained all the relevant approvals from the Parkhurst aesthetic controller, Heritage Council and the City of Johannesburg regarding the building.

“All we are aware of was that the client was in contact with Joburg City Parks whereby the tree was discussed. We have had no involvement with the removal of the tree and want to retract ourselves from any discussions involving our company.”

City Parks spokesperson, Jenny Moodley said by removing a valuable City asset, the homeowner had transgressed the bylaws.

“When we heard of the removal, the homeowner was contacted and requested not to remove the tree,” explained Moodley. “However, he went ahead, despite numerous instructions from the City.”

She added that City Parks was awaiting the completion of an evaluation before taking further action.

“We are certainly going to be taking action and the homeowner will be faced with a hefty fine.”

The homeowner was contacted several times but was not available for comment.

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