Safety assessment for heritage fig after branches fall

It’s survived many seasons in its time, but now the well-known fig tree in Shellharbour Village’s Little Park is in trouble.

The tree is being closely monitored and has been fenced off, after two large falling branches posed a safety risk for park visitors.

Council horticultural staff are consulting expert arborists to determine the long-term risks posed by the tree.

Mayor Marianne Saliba said while the tree is an icon in Shellharbour Village, the first priority must be the community’s safety.

“Council has had to intervene to make sure the deterioration of this ageing tree does not cause serious injury or worse for the many family groups and others who enjoy Little Park,” she said.

“We don’t want to lose this fig, but we must make the park safe. Staff are looking at a range of options to get the best outcome for the community.”

Council’s Park Manager Scott Rowe, said as a result of the two branches falling from the tree in recent weeks, Council has fenced off an area around the tree as an exclusion zone for the safety of the public.

“We’ve put up temporary fencing and signs, and urge the community to stay well away from the fenced area while we continue our investigations,” he said.

“Our monitoring will continue over the next few weeks and a risk assessment will determine whether the tree now poses imminent danger to life or property. The results of that assessment will guide our next steps.”