The magnificent 200-year-old Moreton Bay fig tree in Castle Drive Lennox Head was due to be removed on Monday 30 April. Late on Sunday afternoon news came through that the felling would not go ahead.
Despite significant ongoing opposition, Council had cited concerns about the cost of future insurance claims likely to come from nearby residents as their house and property allegedly continue to be damaged by the tree’s root system.
Local woman Sherrie Yeomans had been gathering support to save the tree, working tirelessly behind the scenes with arborists and engineers.
In the end her work to build community pressure forced a rethink from the Mayor that resulted in a last minute rescission motion to temporarily save the tree.
The motion signed by the Mayor, Cr Williams and Cr Meehan calls an Extraordinary Council Meeting to consider further technical reports on the causes of cracking in an adjoining house.
According to Councillor Williams, ‘A number of highly qualified arborists have written to Council urging further investigation of the tree roots and claiming that soil moisture issues under the house are a more likely source of the damage than the tree. This warrants further investigation.
‘This tree predates the arrival of European settlers in the area. Apart from items such as centuries old fish traps, these ancient trees are some of the most significant heritage items in the shire. They should be protected on that basis.
I think all Councillors are mindful of the fact that our insurer has accepted a claim for damage and denied future liability unless this tree is removed. But if that assessment is wrong, we should challenge it on behalf of our community”, he said.
Meanwhile, the fate of another long-established tree — a Norfolk Pine — behind Skennars Head, is still slated for removal as part of the new Stewarts Farm development.