Action promised after annual deluge of leaves sparks community petition


Garry Stratton, of Normanby, is fed up with raking up sacks of leaves every autumn from more than 100 deciduous trees planted on the road reserve between his street and SH3.

Catherine Groenestein/Stuff

Garry Stratton, of Normanby, is fed up with raking up sacks of leaves every autumn from more than 100 deciduous trees planted on the road reserve between his street and SH3.

After years of complaining, residents of a South Taranaki street have been promised action over the deluge of leaves that carpet their properties every autumn and winter.

Garry Stratton, of Walscourt Place, Normanby, said he fills at least 24 wool bale fadges between February and June each year from more than 100 trees growing along a 900-metre grassed berm between the street and State Highway 3.

Garry Stratton's album of photographs of the leaves he gathers up from the trees across the road from his Normanby home.

Catherine Groenestein/Stuff

Garry Stratton’s album of photographs of the leaves he gathers up from the trees across the road from his Normanby home.

He and other residents want South Taranaki District Council (STDC) to remove the offending trees and reduce the height of the others to make them more manageable.

“The leaves block up gutters and drains, causing flooding in workshops and generally covering residents’ lawns and blowing up driveways and banking up along fences,” Stratton said.

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Stratton took a petition signed by 26 people from Walscourt Place to the STDC’s meeting last week, along with an album of photos showing piles of leaves and jumbo sacks stuffed with leaves in his glasshouse.

He rakes the leaves off his lawn and piles them in his glasshouse to dry, before bagging them up and taking them away to be dumped by the trailer-load.

Piles of fallen leaves from the trees across the road pile up in Garry Stratton's glasshouse before he takes them away in huge sacks.

Catherine Groenestein/Stuff

Piles of fallen leaves from the trees across the road pile up in Garry Stratton’s glasshouse before he takes them away in huge sacks.

“The bulk of them are sycamores, and they’re all deciduous.”

The street has a prevailing westerly wind that carries the leaves across the road to the properties on the other side.

“I’ve been complaining about this for a number of years, and as the trees get taller, the problem gets worse.”

District Mayor Phil Nixon said the council would have a look at the issue.

On Tuesday, council facilities manager Phil Waite said the council intends to thin out some trees but the details of when this would happen were still being worked out.