Council To Knock Down Iconic Fig Tree

Dear Editor,

I am writing to let you and your readers know about a tragic decision of BSC regarding the magnificent 100 year old + fig tree in Castle Drive Lennox Head.

Item 16.1 of last week’s Council meeting refers to the trees removal due to insurance concerns. Mysteriously two homes have been built right up against the road reserve which surrounds it (although according to David Wright there was supposed to be a 50mtr buffer of no building around it.)

The tree is raising pavers and there is a crack in a brick wall which has not been proved was caused by the tree. Council has remediated the pavers before. The crack was there when the owners purchased the home.

I am quite sure the locals know nothing about this.

Council will not consider getting expert advice regarding rootguard and pruning and is opting to remove it. This is an iconic tree, which the whole estate out out there is based around. I am terribly concerned that this will set a dreadful precedent especially when we have such little human heritage in our Shire. Our natural heritage should be protected at all costs. Remembering there is at least one equally fantastic tree in the old Pacific Palms (Henderson Drive) where homes have been built in close proximity. We lived for 20 years beside two of these beauties in Summerhill Crescent at Cumbalum. They are scattered all through the Shire. I do note one at the corner of Tamar and Kerr Streets was removed with no replanting at all.

I am devastated at this decision. I worked for eight years to ensure care and valuing of urban street trees. I instigated a $15k budget for fig tree maintenance. I led the rootbarrier placement and pruning of the poinianas in River St and the annual planting of two hundred trees across the Shire in urban areas.

I really think the Ballina Shire community love these magnificent eco-systems which provide an incredible home for wildlife, are stunningly beautiful and provide magnificent shade in a very hot summer environment. Quite frankly, if you buy a home situated in a position like this you know what you are getting into however it must be incumbent upon Council to be a good neighbour and pay the money for proper care and maintenance. It is a price I believe the community will be happy to pay.

Sue Meehan

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