uMngeni did not permit tree-cutting near billboards

2018-07-27 15:37
One of the newly-erected billboards at the roadside of Hilton Avenue.

One of the newly-erected billboards at the roadside of Hilton Avenue. (Ian Carbutt)

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The uMngeni Municipality says it did not give permission for trees to be cut down around the newly erected billboards in Hilton Avenue.

Hiltonians have been up in arms since last week after two billboards were set up along Hilton Avenue.

While some complained that they obstructed the view of traffic, others said their presence ruined the aesthetics of the small town.

They were further outraged when a contractor started cutting down trees to allow the “offending” billboards to be more visible.

On Thursday uMngeni’s general manager for community services, economic development planning and technical services, Steve Simpson said that trees located “within the road reserve” fall under the municipality’s jurisdiction. He said the pruning or felling of trees is governed by the manager of parks and gardens.

“It would appear that no permission was sought nor given[(in cutting down the trees near the billboards)]”

Simpson added that when it came to claims that the boards were obstructing the view of traffic, the ward councillor got the advice of a traffic engineer. He said the outcome of the traffic study is awaited.

“Statements on the aesthetics of the village appear to be somewhat subjective,” he added.

Hilton residents have taken to the Facebook group, Hilton Chat, to gather and share information on the hacking of the trees and the billboards.

Hiltonian Barbara Rogers posted on the group that she had received a call from the advertising company behind the billboards, JC Decaux, who arranged a meeting with her yesterday morning. In the post, she said the representative was “appalled at how the tree had been hacked” and the company had said they would deal with the contractor.

Rogers said she would be tending to the tree today, and asked for ideas of what trees to plant in place of the one that had been cut down.

JC Decaux had not responded to media queries at the time of going to print on Thursday evening.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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