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Registrations called for community firewood initiative

23 Jul 2020

Registrations called for community firewood initiative

The warmth of the Tairāwhiti Economic Support Package Redeployment Programme will be felt far and wide in 2021 thanks to an unexpected bonus from the hazardous tree removal project.

Expressions of interest are being called for from not-for-profit groups and organisations who can help distribute the green firewood created from the removal of hazardous trees to those who need it.

Redeployment Programme general manager Glenis Philip-Barbara says the wood will be made available to not-for-profit community groups to ensure it gets to the elderly and those who need it most first and foremost, with remaining supplies opened up to others thereafter, should there be any left.

“This is waste wood that would normally be put through a chipper but the team at Gisborne District Council thought that this would be a great way to keep our community warm next winter,” she said.

Annually up to 900 trees fall onto local roads causing danger and disruption. The Redeployment Programme will see the elimination of up to 2000 hazardous trees on 93 roads across the district, creating a safer environment for all. The project will cost $5.3m and redeploy 75 workers.

Firewood processing sites have been established where the trees are being taken to be split and stacked, in readiness for distribution from September 2020.  The wood, which is predominantly a mixture of pine, willow and popular, is wet and green, and will not be suitable for burning this winter.

Mrs Philip-Barbara is asking not-for-profit community organisations and groups who can collect and distribute wood to people in need to contact her directly – glenis.philip-barbara@gdc.govt.nz – to register their interest.   

“We’re hoping by having groups register with us, we will cover all corners of Tairāwhiti and reach as many whānau in need as we can. We are blessed in Tairāwhiti to have so many great community organisations who have existing relationships with households who can do with a hand. These include marae, sports clubs, education, health and social organisations” says Mrs Philip-Barbara.  “Our goal here is to tautoko the good work they do by providing this firewood through them to those who need it the most.”