Fig tree to grow in memorial park

TWEED Shire Council looks set to push ahead with establishing a memorial park costing $66,000 to replace a giant fig tree it chopped down last year.

Councillors are due to consider the plan to establish the memorial park on council land near the Byangum Bridge, south-west of Murwillumbah at Tuesday’s council meeting.

It would provide a place for a replanted seedling, grown from the more than 100-year-old tree which it axed after concern that limbs could fall onto the Murwillumbah-Kyogle Rd.

Locals had blamed widening of the road for damaging the tree, but council staff at the time said it had suffered major rot in central boughs.

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

Council staff have 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”.

In a report to councillors they said that in consultation with the Uki and South Arm Historical Society, several parcels of council-owned land were inspected.

“After consideration of access, location, historical relevance and land form it was concluded that the only suitable site was on the corner of Kyogle Rd and Bakers Rd, adjacent to Byangum Bridge,” their report said.

“This site has safe vehicular access off Bakers Rd, easy pedestrian access from the bridge walkway, and has vistas up and down the river. The site of the original Hatton fig tree is visible from the proposed site.

“A site for planting of a seedling from the original tree has been selected, along with parking and seating.

Staff have estimated construction of the park would cost $66,000, with annual maintenance of $5000. They have recommended the proposal be considered “along with other priorities” in the budget.

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