DESPITE the council's adamant decision to cut down a 100-year-old Moreton Bay fig within a week, Boyne Island and Tannum Sands residents are petitioning to save the tree that stands tall on The Oaks Rd.
The thriving Ficus macrophylla, which has become an icon to residents on the street, has caused damage to the foundations of a nearby house and, according to the council, the only way forward is to cut it down.
The Oaks Road resident Christian Thomsen's petition, which is circulating among residents and businesses, had already garnered more than 50 signatures yesterday.
He hopes people power will convince the council to reconsider its stance and look at alternatives to felling the tree.
Mr Thomsen said any compromise would be better than destroying the beautiful Australian native.
Gladstone Regional Council manager of parks and environment Tony Klein said a root from the tree was more than 25m from its base, beneath a house, and had damaged the foundations above.
He said the fig, which sat within the beach-access easement between residences 20 and 22, was also "in close proximity to sewerage infrastructure".
Mr Klein said the tree was healthy and thriving, and the decision to cut down the tree was "not made lightly", but it was expected to cause ongoing costs due to damages.
When asked whether there were maintenance options to avoid the tree's destruction, Mr Klein said the most effective method would be to install a root barrier, but this was not practical long term.
Root barriers are mechanical guides that redirect tree roots down and away from hardscapes, preventing costly root damage while preserving the tree's health.
"(It) would require the severance of all roots encountered," he said.
"This would require the severance of nearly 40-50% of the tree's root system.
"The degree of root loss would be significant and would likely compromise the health and the stability of the tree."
Mr Thomsen, who lives at No. 22, said he had had no problems with the tree in 13 years of living there and believed there was another way.
"I do not need to have them cut on my boundary as I have no problems," he said.
"This would mean that only 25% of the total root structure would be affected, significantly reducing damage to the tree.
"This would also be more cost effective than chopping down the entire tree and will preserve it for the benefit of others for many more years to come.
"We have lost many landmark trees in my time here.
"The last one was a mighty Norfolk pine at No.6, but we also lost a poinciana tree at No.2, and a tall kauri pine at No.23.
"We will soon be a street of shrubs."
Mr Thomsen said residents were not given enough notice by the council to be able to "assess reactions and to reach a compromise solution".
"As long-term rate payers in a highly sought-after location, we feel rightly aggrieved," he said.
"(The tree) to date has cost the council next to nothing. I fail to see why it should now, or in the future, create more expenses for council."
The petition is available for signing at Mr Thomsen's house and at his workplace at Island Sands Dental, 6 Centenary Dr, Boyne Island.
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