Illegal trimming ruining trees

The tops of the trees being hacked.

Trees on public pavements outside Rondebosch’s Riverside Mall have been ruined because of illegal trimming, says a non-profit, and the City is investigating.

A landscaping firm cut and trimmed the trees on Main Road and Belmont Road without City permission.

Hank Lith, of Newlands, first noticed the trees “being mutilated” when he visited the mall earlier this month.

The landscaper, he said, had told him they were cutting back the trees to make the mall signage more visible.

“He even tried to intimidate me by saying * am not allowed to take photos.

“I naturally stood my ground, as we were on public city pavements, taking photos of mutilated City trees being cut by somebody who had no City permission to do so,” he said.

Kenilworth-based non-profit, TreeKeepers reported the incident to the City’s recreation and parks department, which appointed an officer to investigate.

TreeKeepers chairwoman Clare Burgess said the trees had been ruined as the tops of all the main branches had been cut back.

“I think that the management of the mall needs to be asked to confirm who they appointed and what they were asked to do,” she said.

Lorraine Snyman, portfolio manager of mall owner Redefine Properties, said they had explained to the City’s parks and recreation department that the tree cutting had been done in error.

“We have been the owners of the mall for nearly 10 years, and we are aware of the City by-laws and adhere to them at all times and it was a honest mistake that will not be repeated.”

Ms Burgess said the mall should have to replace the trees and maintain and water them for at least five years until they were fully established again and serving the purpose for which they had originally been planted.

Mayco member for community service and health Dr Zahid Badroodien said the recreation and parks department was investigating.

“It is a violation of the City’s by-laws to prune or remove trees on City land without the explicit permission of the City,” he said.