$66,000 high price to replace tree

A PROPOSED memorial park to replace a giant century-old fig tree which Tweed Shire Council chopped down last year will cost too much, according to Tweed Greens Party candidate Katie Milne.

Cr Milne was the only councillor this week to oppose plans for the park on the outskirts of Murwillumbah, near the Byangum bridge, which staff estimate could cost about $66,000 to establish on already council-owned land.

“Whilst I support the dedication of a park for remembrance, $66,000 is quite a large figure,” Cr Milne said.

“We've spent a lot of money on parks, this council, recently.”

Cr Milne said the council should liaise with Landcare groups to do more tree planting on the land instead of spending council money.

Cr Barry Longland argued the council decision was simply to list the issue for further consideration in drawing up next year's council budget but added: “When the tree was removed we made a commitment we would support the establishment of a memorial.”

Council staff said the proposed park would provide a place for a replanted seedling grown from the more than 100-year-old tree, which it axed after concerns limbs could fall onto the Murwillumbah-Kyogle Rd.

The tree had been planted in the late 1800s by pioneer Harry Hatton opposite his then blacksmith's shop to mark the birth of one of his sons.

Council staff had recommended the park be established as a memorial to the Hatton family and feature “a replanted seedling taken from the original Hatton's fig tree”.

“The Uki and South Arm Historical Society have written to council in support of the proposed park and are willing to assist with the wording for an information panel to be erected at the site.”

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