Chopping tree down is the 'only realistic option': Council
A CONTENTIOUS fig tree slated to be removed from a Lennox Head street has had Aboriginal heritage claims refuted.
The Castle Drive tree, which has caused damage to nearby homes, was set to be removed when a claim to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage stalled any work on the site.
The claim cited Aboriginal Cultural Heritage significance for a reason to halt removal of the tree.
Ballina Shire Council's manager of civil services John Truman said they had delayed the tree's removal while the cultural claim was pending.
But he said a report from OEH confirmed the council's belief the tree did not hold such cultural significance.
"After reviewing the claim and council's documentation, OEH have advised, unless further information comes to hand, they will not be pursuing the investigation further,” Mr Truman said.
"This finding supports council's own due diligence in firstly establishing our Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Map, which was done in consultation with the local Aboriginal community, and our review of the Government's Aboriginal Heritage Mapping System Database in respect of this tree.”
The council is now expected to proceed with the removal, although a date for this work has not yet been set.
"Considering the advice from OEH, and based on all the information available to council, the only realistic option, balancing the environmental considerations, financial constraints and insurance risk, is to proceed with removing the fig tree,” Mr Truman said.
"Staff will now complete the necessary operational arrangements to implement the decision of council as soon as practical.”