Letter to General Manager from Save Our Figs Inc 23.10.2011


Hill's figs aerial roots

Dear Mr Pearce:

We realise that at present you will be engaged in discussions aimed at recruiting the arborist preferred by Save Our Figs from the list of three presented to us by council as part of our recent Agreement.

It is our fervent hope that this will be successful, and that the matter will then proceed in accordance with the process outlined in the agreement.

However, we are concerned that – if that recruitment process is not successful – there appears to be no recourse other than reverting to the previous situation, which was so distressing for so many in the community, and so volatile for all involved. We do not see that as a desirable or necessary outcome when there are clearly other options available that can build on the current agreement. It would seem a great pity to allow the want of a few more nominations to thwart all the work that has gone into getting things to this point, simply to revert to the previous situation.

As we have previously indicated, if the nominated arborist is not willing or able to undertake the task, we would be very willing to consider any further nominations that might be proffered.

As you know, we were not privy to the process by which the first list of three nominees was developed, or the criteria upon which they were selected. However, if the first recruitment approach fails, we would urge you to approach a neutral, credible and mutually respected third party who would be genuinely interested in assisting this process, but who has no predisposition about the key issues, or any previous involvement in the matter (or any significant conflict of interest by association with anyone who has been involved).

It may be that a relevant professional association or government agency (e.g., the Institute of Consulting Arborists, or the relevant sections of the NSW Department of Environment/Heritage, or of the section of the Roads and Traffic Authority that deals with issues involving risk and significant trees) would be willing and able to provide advice as to which experts might be most suited to assist in this role. These entities may even be able and willing to provide the relevant expertise themselves (in making these suggestions, we have not approached any of these bodies regarding this particular matter).

You would be aware that the many people in the community who care deeply about this matter and were distressed at what they saw as the preemptive destruction of one of Newcastle’s most iconic sites welcomed the breakthrough represented by the signing of the Agreement between Council and Save Our Figs. We believe that it would revive, and greatly increase, their level of distress if all the efforts that have gone in to finding a more productive way through it were to come to nothing due to what will surely seem to them to be such a minor hiccup.

If matters do reach the point foreshadowed in this email, we therefore urge you to reopen the dialogue with Save Our Figs before resuming any tree removal operations.


John Sutton
[Public Officer, Save Our Figs]
23 October 2011

cc Tim Owen, Robyn Parker, John Tate. Home

Sherilyn stood in front of this crane until a police officer came and moved her. Taken on a phone - clarified via photshopping programme by my IT expert


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