Community safety comes first in tree removal decision

Shellharbour City Council says significant safety concerns have led to a decision to remove the remains of the fig tree in Shellharbour Village’s Little Park.

Earlier this year the tree lost two large branches, posing a risk to park users and causing Council to fence off an exclusion zone and put up warning signs.

Council staff have since closely monitored the tree and consulted expert arborists on its future.
“Our advice is that the tree will continue to deteriorate and lose branches, risking life and property for families and other park visitors, said the Mayor, Cr Marianne Saliba.

“Unfortunately, we have no option but to have what’s left of the fig removed.”

“While this tree is a heritage item and iconic to Shellharbour, community safety is the first priority in Council’s decision,” the Mayor said.

The fig tree will be removed safely over the next two weeks and Council will consult the community about possible future uses for the remaining stump.

The playground in Little Park will be upgraded once the tree is removed. The danger posed by falling branches had forced park upgrade works to be postponed.

The fig tree appears in many historic photos and art works depicting Shellharbour Village, and it even featured in the early township’s law enforcement with prisoners reportedly tied to its trunk in the absence of a local gaol.

“Many of us have fond memories of the fig tree and it will be sad to see it go, but it will continue to play an important part in Shellharbour’s history through photos, paintings, official records and community stories,” Cr Saliba said.

For more information contact Council’s Media Officer on 4221 6038.