Mayor saves street's trees
A LAST-minute intervention by Byron Shire Mayor Cr Jan Barham has saved three trees in Bangalow's main street.
The liquidambar trees on the corner of Byron and Bangalow Sts were due to be cut down last week because of the damage they were causing to the footpath.
The non-natives, known for their aggressive root systems, had lifted the surrounding pavers, creating a hazard for pedestrians and creating "one of the worst footpaths in the shire," according to council.
But as workers arrived to get rid of the trees, concerned residents got onto the mayor, who stopped the work.
Cr Barham said she accepted the trees were inappropriate, but a proper process to have them removed had not been followed.
The community needed to be consulted and informed before such a major change to the town's landscape, she said, and neither she or the residents had known anything of the plans.
Owner of the adjoining business Darren Pearson said apart from the safety hazard, the trees were posing a threat to the structure of his building.
He said he would be happy to work with council to meet some of the costs of replacing the trees with natives or another solution.
He said if they did not go he'd have no choice but to install a root barrier.
"A root barrier has the potential to kill the trees and that's the last thing we want," he said.
Cr Barham said a likely outcome was a transition phase in which the trees were gradually removed and replaced with a more appropriate species.
The footpath could be modified to accommodate this, she said.
In the meantime, pavers have been removed and the area barricaded off for safety.
"I have been assured nothing will happen (to the trees) until a report comes back to council," Cr Barham said.