'No evidence' 200-year-old tree is causing damage to home
BALLINA Shire Council will go ahead with the removal of an iconic Lennox Head fig tree.
Councillor Phillip Meehan put forward a matter of urgency in a bid to delay the tree's removal - scheduled for Monday - without "physical evidence" it was the cause of damage to a wall and driveway at a nearby home on Castle Drive.
This followed a question from resident John Sparks, who asked the council about reports and insurance situations which influenced the decision to remove the tree.
The council's general manager Paul Hickey said the council would not be insured for any further damage caused by the tree.
Cr Meehan asked the council to defer the tree's removal "until the council is able to obtain physical evidence".
He said those investigating the damage were not able to "definitively" agree the tree was responsible.
"There's a huge amount of community concern about that," he said.
"My concern is that whilst we have had a number of expert opinions we do not have, in my opinion, physical proof that the tree has caused the cracking in the concrete and the uplift on the brick wall."
Cr Meehan said they hadn't ruled out underground springs which may have caused subsidence.
He said the tree was "part of the natural heritage of Lennox Head".
"We could be doing all we can to prevent the tree being removed," he said.
"We must remember the tree was there first."
Cr Eoin Johnston said the council should give some weight to the expert report they had received, which indicated the tree had caused the damage.
"We've got to have some confidence in the advice we've had," he said.
The motion was lost with only Cr Meehan, Jeff Johnson and Keith Williams voting in its favour.
Cr Sharon Parry was not present for the meeting.