7.3 C
Byron Shire
July 30, 2021

Hopes fading for Lennox Head fig tree

Latest News

I’m with you Mandy…

Dominica Coulthurst, Knockrow I’m with you Mandy... all the way. Thanks so much for your Soapbox message last week. Always love...

Other News

Ballina Shire Council supports application for new croquet club

The Ballina Croquet Club is hoping to receive up to $300,000 in funding for a new club house at Cawarra Park. 

Riverland Wine: A hidden gem

  Julz Recsei* As I navigate the vast world of wine, I am constantly looking for something new and I found...

Byron Farmers Markets temporarily moved to make way for COVID clinic

The Byron Farmers Market is to be held opposite Elements resort on Bayshore Drive this week, while health authorities use the Cavanbah Centre for a drive-through COVID testing service.

Storylines: Growing hope

Hope is a fragile thing in 2021. With the current pandemic and the uncertainty in so many aspects of life, our hope is being shadowed by fear. It is profoundly affecting our humanity.

Spyware unplugged – New software attacks cast a light on cybersecurity

A major investigation conducted by news organisations has found that governments around the world may have been spied on by a malicious software called Pegasus.

Byron Shire residents urged to get tested

Fragments of the COVID-19 virus have been found in the Byron Bay sewerage treatment plant (STP) that services Byron Bay, Broken Head, Suffolk Park, Wategos, and Sunrise areas and the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWHD) are asking residents and visitors to get tested at the first sign of any symptoms.

Members of Castle Drive Fig Protectors at the tree. Photo Facebook

Ballina’s deputy mayor is still hoping a last-minute change of heart by councillors will save the old fig tree at Lennox Head that they recently voted to remove.

A hoped-for reprieve, in the form of evidence of pre-existing Aboriginal heritage significance lodged with the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), has not materialised.

But Keith Williams hasn’t given up hope, saying an on-ground archaeological exploration, called for by Ballina MP Tamara Smith, has yet to be conducted.

Still, the odds are stacked against the tree, with a majority of Ballina councillors voting at its last meeting to remove it and the council’s insurance company vetoing the use of root barriers as a way of securing its future.

Councilllors voted to remove the tree after its roots were blamed for cracks in the walls and driveway at an adjoining property, with council’s insurer agreeing to foot the bill – but only if it was removed.

But a large community support campaign has been looking at ways of trying to retain the tree, which could be up to 200 years old.

Ballina’s Deputy Mayor Keith Williams. Photo supplied

Cr Williams is investigating the possibility of a further arborist’s report that could accurately age the tree.

‘That could be a factor in its heritage significance,’ he said.

‘Certainly, the evidence that I’ve been presented with indicates it’s probably over 200 years old and therefore predates European settlement. In my view that makes the tree significant.’

Root barrier

Cr Williams said that despite the insurance company’s reluctance, several arborists have indicated it would be possible to successfully create a root barrier around the tree.

‘if we can get a root barrier that is going to work in terms of protecting the house, then in my view the only argument for removing the tree is one about insurance.

‘Council’s insurers say we would be compromising the root structure of the tree with a root barrier but I actually think that’s entirely wrong.

‘We’ve got very clear, high-level arborist’s advice from people who actually move fig trees, saying it’s’ quite easy to put the root barrier in provided you go through some steps to prepare the tree before you cut those roots.’

‘I think council off it’s own bat should be investigating the root barrier rather than looking at removal.’

Interim protection order

Cr Williams said he was concerned council had resolved to remove the tree while the minister had yet to make a final decision on whether or not to grant an interim protection order.

While there is no further vote likely or rescission motion planned for the council’s upcoming meeting on Thursday (July 26), Cr Williams said there was still room for an urgency motion if any new information came to light that might change councillors’ minds.

‘We have debated this as an urgency motion in the past. We’ve also had extraordinary meetings about this tree as well, so I’m not sure we would pursue that option at this point.’

He added he was concerned that council staff could start on the tree’s removal at any time.

The previous motion to remove the tree was 6-4 in favour, so a further stay of execution would require two councillors to change their minds.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 COMMENTS

  1. “Save Me” yells the tree and that is read as my hope and blood is sucked from me
    In this unlucky country where people do not give a fig, this tree is not old or free,
    when council give it no hope to live, and to be an icon for this here hilltop. Let it be,
    When the odds are stacked against the tree the odds are also stacked against the council
    from being re-elected for the neighbourhood kids play in that tree to be healthy, not to be ill
    In the movie The Castle, the drive of “Tell’m they’re dream’n” is how they fought the Council.

  2. Good morning,
    Root barrier works if it is installed correctly, I have done several root barriers for Ballina Shire Council which work well, On other root barrier jobs council has chosen a cheaper alternative to our engineered system. The cheaper alternatives regularly fail as roots can get over, under or around it. We work with civil engineers, builders and developers, as well as arborists and the community and have a very good track record.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Ballina Shire Council supports application for new croquet club

The Ballina Croquet Club is hoping to receive up to $300,000 in funding for a new club house at Cawarra Park. 

Storylines: Growing hope

Hope is a fragile thing in 2021. With the current pandemic and the uncertainty in so many aspects of life, our hope is being shadowed by fear. It is profoundly affecting our humanity.

Northern Rivers responds to cal for COVID-19 testing

Following the flight of a COVID positive traveller from Sydney to Ballina and the detection of COVID fragments in the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) both locals and visitors have responded to calls for more testing in the region.

Open-air art walk by the river at Murwillumbah completed

The Ages of the Tweed mural that accompanies the open-air riverside art walk has now been completed.