Unsafe tree to be removed

Townsville City Council will remove part of a Banyan Fig (Ficus Benghalensis) from opposite the old Queens Hotel on The Strand from tomorrow (21 November) as it has become a safety risk to the community.

Council had planned to remove the tree next week and had advised nearby residents and businesses of this. However, strong winds experienced this week have forced Council to bring the removal forward.

Deputy Mayor and Infrastructure Services Committee chairperson Mark Molachino said a bus fire near the tree in late 2014 caused significant damage.

“Since then, Council has undertaken remedial pruning and treatments of the tree in an effort to help it recover,” Cr Molachino said.

“The tree has also been actively monitored by Council’s certified and experienced arborist.

“Unfortunately, the latest assessment confirmed a serious decline in the tree’s health and, as a result, there is now a risk of failure.”

As the tree sits within a heritage-listed zone, Council sought and received approval from the Department of Environment and Heritage to remove it.

Division 3 councillor Ann-Maree Greaney said Council would plant another Banyan Fig tree nearby to offset the removal of the tree.

“Removing trees like this beautiful fig is always a last resort for Council, however we must act to ensure the safety of the community,” Cr Greaney said.

“Only half of the tree structure will be removed. Hopefully the health of the remaining part of the tree will improve and it can remain in place.”

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