Every one of our customers will ask us, well, how do I know my tree’s protected? And obviously that’s a big question.
What we’re doing is brand new and it’s a new approach. So we have to think about new ways to ensure that and how to protect the trees. And for me personally, I’m going to be planted here. My family’s here. So I’ve got to think about things that go beyond me and beyond when I’m not necessarily working here and there’s new people.
So there’s a myriad of things we’ve done already. Things we’ve got in play to start soon, and then there’s going to be more things that we in action as time goes along. We’re also open to hearing thoughts from our customers, and some of the things we’ve done have been in response to ideas customers have had.
One of them is legal and property-wise.
So as part of our permit, when we applied to the council for this unique approach, they said, well, in order for you to get this permit, we need to have the plans for all the trees that you’re going to plant. Then all of those trees, in addition to the pathways et cetera that you’re putting in, they all have to be rolled out and maintained forever as part of this permit. This requirement is attached to the title and anybody that wants to take it over, they take that with that same requirement on the title.
The other bit is we’ve got a vegetative overlay that restricts us from removing trees. We’re working with the National Trust and the Heritage Trust to put overlays on the site. So Conservation Covenant and a Heritage Covenant on the site. They need to wait until this stage is fully planned out which we’re about a month away from doing before we have that on play.
But the other side is financial.
So financially we do something beyond what I don’t think anybody else does in any industry. So we put aside 20% of the tree sales into a not-for-profit and that not-for-profit’s been created by a law firm that only does charities and not-for-profits. It’s got a really clear mandate and that is the continual care and maintenance of this site. So that trust will be funded up until it’s got enough funds to ensure you we can pay eight full-time staff to run this place just off the interest based on those funds.
So it’s sort of the opposite issue to what cemeteries have. Cemeteries have this great legal framework with government related bodies but they run out of money. Anybody that goes past an old cemetery sees that they don’t have any money left to maintain the site and they actually get real expensive, of course, all the concrete breaks.
Whereas here we go from having juvenile trees that are really quite expensive and hard to grow to having mature forests that don’t need much work but also having lots of money in that not-for-profit there ready to take care of the site.
That’s just part of it. One of the great ideas our customers had was, well, we should have a review committee, an incorporated association that actually sits and can review and audit the not-for-profits books once a year, have a look and check that they’re doing everything above and above. Make sure they’re using the funds wisely.
And that’s really the process. It is at at the moment. It’s really robust. It relies on, you know, both, local council enforcement, but also state law that will enforce the requirements there on the title. And then as we move forward with the covenants that those things are become really heavy handed we’ll be building more and more and more to secure the trees here forever.
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