Tweed Heads South locals Ann and Jeff Ricketts have been rallying to try and save a century-old fig tree that will be bulldozed this week.
Tweed Heads South locals Ann and Jeff Ricketts have been rallying to try and save a century-old fig tree that will be bulldozed this week.

Locals cut up about history getting the chop

A CENTURY-old fig tree will be bulldozed by the end of the week to make way for a new development at Tweed Heads South.

Workers on the residential subdivision started knocking down trees in September to make way for 137 lots for detached housing and 13 duplex lots.

Locals Ann and Jeff Ricketts reached out to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Tweed Shire Council in a bid to save the tree.

Mrs Ricketts said the Department was only responsible for threatened species of trees and wildlife and council had jurisdiction over the vegetation. But council staff told Mrs Ricketts the development was approved by the Department and the works on the site were being completed under a Construction Certificate issued by a private certifier and not council.

Mrs Ricketts said she knows the developer has “ticked every legal box” but there were trees missing from the development plans, including the large fig tree.

“They have ticked every legal box, but the thing is, it’s what hasn’t been put on there (the plans),” Mrs Ricketts said.

“Those trees don’t seem to be on any of the plans I have looked at. It will take more than a 100 years to grow another significant tree that will offset carbon emissions and negate some of the pollution caused by the new estate.”

Mrs Ricketts, who has lived near the development for more than 30 years, said a wildlife spotter was at the Fraser Dr site for two days. However, she said no one stayed for the night to observe the many nocturnal animals.

A council spokesman said as far as they were aware, an environmental scientist or ecologist was onsite overseeing fauna management during tree removal.

He said given the approval was issued by the Department of Planning and that a project manager was appointed, Mrs Ricketts was advised any inquiries should be directed to the Department’s Compliance Unit or the project manager, given council’s limited involvement.