The giant fig tree on Castle Drive in Lennox Head that is scheduled to be cut down.
The giant fig tree on Castle Drive in Lennox Head that is scheduled to be cut down. Marc Stapelberg

Furore over fig tree: Residents explain why it must go

RESIDENTS "immediately affected” by the fig tree in Castle Drive, Lennox Head, have written to The Northern Star's sister paper, the Ballina Shire Advocate, in order to "clarify some of the issues which may have been misunderstood by the community”. This is the letter submitted by Chris and Robin Lowry:

The tree is on Council land due to the initial subdivision requiring a clear space around the tree. The road was also realigned to allow for the tree.

For three years we have requested Council to consider options such as root barriers, guards etc. because we initially were keen to preserve the tree.

We have been advised that barriers are expensive and do not work well with fig trees. The failure of root barriers has been demonstrated to Council in the town area of Ballina recently.

The Council voted to remove the fig tree as the result of reports from structural engineers, arborists in this matter. With regard to the significant damage done to the masonry, driveway of our home, Council insurers are facing a substantial bill. Future costs will be borne by the ratepayers as the insurers now refuse to pay further claims to the two adjacent properties, which will inevitably occur if the tree problem is not addressed.

There is now also a question that the tree has internal disease resulting from previous pruning. Council requires the roots underlying the damage to be removed as part of repairs, which may further damage the tree.

Falling branches are also an issue with fig trees.

On Sunday and Monday Chris spent many hours talking to the neighbours in Castle to explain more fully the reasons for Council's decision to remove the tree. Many people said that if they were in our position they would do the same thing.

We appreciate the emotion that has arisen in the community but talking it through seemed the best way to go. We have felt the stress of this issue for some years and would be pleased for a resolution. We have worked amicably with Council exhausting all options for the tree, but oppose the rescission motion by only three Councillors, because the decision made at the last meeting was, regrettably, the correct one.



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