Desperate plea to save 200 year old tree
RESIDENTS of Castle Drive, Lennox Head, are furious after receiving a notice from the council about the removal of the 200-year-old fig tree on their street.
Jenny Grinlington, who has lived on the street for eight years, said she along with her neighbours were outraged and astonished to hear the news on Thursday morning.
"Ballina Council sent us a letter in the mail saying it was going to be taken down because it was a significant public risk and I find that laughable," Mrs Grinlington said.
"This tree has heritage value for this area, it is one of the remnants of the big scrub forest and it was here before white settlers, it's an icon in this neighbourhood but it is also an icon for the whole of the Northern Rivers.
"I think to take it out and try to replace it with anything else is just going to be a travesty."
Mrs Grinlington said everyone she has spoken to said they were devastated this decision has been made without any consultation.
"I thought Ballina Council was better than that, I thought they were good at keeping us all in the loop.
"It's only one resident that has made the complaint and yet it affects everybody, the whole community and it shouldn't be that way."
Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright said he understands why residents are upset however he sees no other resolution for the tree and the damage it is causing.
"Initially when I inspected the property I didn't want it to come down... I absolutely love fig trees," Cr Wright said.
"It wasn't an easy decision for anyone."
Cr Wright said even if he saw a way to save the tree the council could not justify putting the costs to their ratepayers.
"I thought the majority of people in the shire would not like to see us waste money on something that we most likely wouldn't be able to save."
Secretary of the Ballina Environment Society Lyn Walker said she was concerned this decision will set a dangerous precedent for other significant trees in the Shire.
"We could lose all the iconic mature trees in the area," Dr Walker said.
"We would appeal to council to delay but I suspect that is already under-way and I think it's a terrible terrible thing if it becomes precedent."
However Cr Wright assured residents this particular tree will not affect future decisions regarding tree preservation.
"As I said to the residents, if you can come up with a way of saving it please tell me," he said.