Move to protect ?historic? tree

The surveyor?s mark on the tree.
The surveyor?s mark on the tree.

Byron Council is moving to protect the long-term future of a tree at Ocean Shores with an historic surveyor's mark blazed on its trunk.

An interim heritage order has already been placed on the brushbox tree and the council was to vote on Tuesday to include it in the Byron Local Environmental Plan as an item of environmental heritage.

As part of that process a draft LEP would be put on public exhibition and submissions sought.

The council's heritage adviser, Donald Ellsmore, said experts believed the tree could be 150 years old and the surveyor's blaze with the numbers 184 and 185 with an arrow, could have been cut as early as 1900.

In a report to the council, Mr Ellsmore said the blaze provided rare evidence of the opening up of the land in the north-east of NSW.

He said at that time, most marks were applied to trees and other non-permanent standing structures and as a result most had not lasted, he said.

It was very rare for a blaze to survive on the face of a tree trunk as the tree, or the blaze, would be vulnerable to natural processes including fire.

Mr Ellsmore said the blaze, which was clear and finely detailed, was the only one that had been recorded in the north-east of the State.

He said the tree was healthy and would normally have a lifespan of several decades or more.

The tree's position on the residential block would not stop development on the site.

The council said it had consulted with the land's owner and the land was inspected before the interim order was placed on the site.

It said the owner would be consulted during the exhibition process.

Mr Ellsmore told the News that the process was not aimed at "freezing" the land or penalising the owner.

He said ultimately the council could give approval to remove the tree.

Seeking a heritage order would provided the time to "sort out the issue".

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