Tragedy For Local Trees


The magnificent 200-year-old Moreton Bay fig tree in Castle Drive Lennox Head will be removed on Monday 30 April according to Council. Despite significant local opposition to the felling of the ancient tree, Council has cited concerns about the cost of future insurance claims that will likely come from nearby residents as their houses and property continue to be damaged by the tree’s enormous root system.

Questions are being asked on social media about why development was ever allowed so close to a huge tree like this. The current Council assures residents that it is making moves to prevent this in future. Unfortunately it will not save trees currently on death row. 

Another long established tree — a Norfolk Pine — behind the Skennars Head development is also slated for removal as part of the new Stewarts Farm development currently in the approval process. 

Council’s statement on the matter of the Castle Drive fig

Ballina Shire Council has confirmed they will progress with plans to remove the fig tree located on Castle Drive at Lennox Head.

After significant consideration, Councillors resolved to remove the tree in November last year. This difficult decision was made in response to the ongoing damage to adjoining properties, along with the significant insurance risks to the public.

‘Council did not make this decision lightly, and a range of alternatives have been examined. However, due to the age of the tree, our understanding of the risks and the exhaustive investigation into alternative options, the only reasonable solution is to remove the tree,’ said Ballina Shire Mayor, David Wright.

‘No one wants to see the removal of a beautiful tree but after thorough investigation and specialist reports we believe it’s the right decision for the community,’ Cr Wright explained.

Another key factor is Council’s insurers have advised they can no longer provide insurance coverage for damage caused by the fig tree roots. This now means any future claims will be made directly against Council, with any successful claims being funded by the
ratepayers of the shire.

Council’s specialised arborists have been involved in the management and care of this tree for many years but several reports indicate its removal is the only viable option. These assessments have been carried out by AQF level 5 arborists – internally and externally of Council. Council has also commissioned independent specialist reports. Copies of these reports can be found on Council’s website

Council proactively manages fig trees throughout the shire, as part of an overall plan. In this instance Council has investigated and exhausted all options to retain this tree, as all identified options presented to Council were cost prohibitive and provided no assurance of success.

A suitable tree species will be planted to replace the fig tree on Castle Drive. Works are scheduled to commence on 30 April 2018.

4 Responses

  1. Maria

    The BSC can continue to fund any claims against it from the huge fines THEY issue to anyone who cuts down a tree.
    This is typical hypocrisy from a “Do as I say, Not as I do” council.

  2. Helen

    This 200 year old Fig may seem very old to us humans but it is capable of living for many more 100’s of years and is now in its prime.
    It is easy & convenient to say this tree is ‘old’ to justify its removal. The data and science on these living giants is readily available for those who wish to be educated with the facts.
    Humans get a letter from the Queen when we live to be 100. Trees get cut down!!
    When we will learn to NOT accept the spin that we are fed by the people we vote for.
    BSC can pay and they can afford it. We have just paid more $$ on roundabouts at Ross Lane and Skennars Head.
    Go figure!!

  3. Catherine Russo

    Do Ballina Shire Council and Councillors understand that we will NEVER get a tree of this grandure and age back once they have severed its life blood. NO! THEY DO NOT!!.
    They are only interested in the dollar, as was the crime in the first instance by developing the land andnot giving it the space it deserves and we (the community) require.
    Mayor, where is your scientific rigour to back your statement implying the Castle Drive Fig is of a scensing age? NIL!

  4. Kristy

    Relocate the house!! Tree was there first and the house should never have been built so close!!! …. wake up and pull your finger out BSC, there’s plenty more options to consider than removal of tree. Everything you are allowing especially in regards to massive property development within the area, including the ones local residents do not yet know about is an absolute disgrace and then to hear of this poor fig just demonstrates how awful, pathetic and corrupt you are and can only hope the local people get together and bring you undone!!!!!! Stop thinking about $$$$$ and think about the repercussions!!!!


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