Fig Tree’s Future Hangs In The Balance

Main photo John Bortolin

For those of you who have been following the decommissioning of the 200 year old Castle Drive fig tree, we have not much more news. But here is what we have.

For several months Council have been dealing with a difficult situation with regard to a large significant Moreton Bay Fig tree on Castle Drive, which one resident claims is causing damage to their property. Litigation and previous insurance claims indicated that the situation could continue to be costly for the Council. 

Following is Council’s Statement, issued on Monday afternoon:

After several months of campaigning by a group of locals to save the tree, on Monday 30 July Council workers and police arrived at the site and began to take the tree down. Protestors arrived and several confrontations ensued. Claims have been made that people were injured during the scuffles, but there is no documented proof of this.

An injunction was obtained, due to the hope that the Office of Environment and Heritage may rule on the potential for cultural significance and the possibility that historic Aboriginal artefacts may be present at the site. Evidence of this claim was not forthcoming and work resumed.

But early on Tuesday afternoon a nest of wood ducks was found in the tree. This stopped work at a time when approximately 50% (if not more) of the branches had been removed.

Protestor presence had been strong across the two days.

These words from the Castle Drive Fig Tree Protectors site from late Tuesday 31 July afternoon:

‘Just chatted with Councillor Keith Williams. This is the current status… I didn’t get anything definite from NPWS at anytime today. Office of Environment and Heritage in Grafton were the ones that prevented further destruction today.

The good news was that they a clearing the site to make it safe again and (at the Lowry’s request) they will cut the roots heading to the driveway and the house tomorrow. It seems like they’re planning on leaving it for a while.

I’ve been given no guarantees, but they were clearly decamping this afternoon (security went home) I expect the fence to be removed tomorrow.’

Removal of Fig Tree suspended

The removal of the Fig Tree at Castle Drive, Lennox Head has been suspended after the discovery of a duck nest.

Despite previous examinations before the commencement of works, a nest has been uncovered deep within the tree.

Council is consulting with National Parks and Wildlife Service to determine the preferred way forward.

Arborists have confirmed the tree can remain in its current condition and is not a public safety risk while the investigation into managing the duck nest is completed.

Image below is of the Castle Drive fig tree before Castle Drive was built. Photo courtesy of Tony Cromack. All other images thanks to John Bortolin

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