Safety issue uproots Kiama tree policy

Kiama councillors have deferred adopting a new policy on tree preservation and management to allow further investigation into safety issues and tree species.

Kiama council has long been known for its strict stance on tree removal, however last year councillors voted against two staff recommendations to keep a Norfolk Island pine in Pheasant Point Drive and a fig tree in Bong Bong Street, moves described as a "turning point" for the council.

Councillors voted to defer adopting a new tree policy until May.

Cr Dennis Seage said one of the major problems with trees in Kiama was ageing gum trees and there was no mention of this in the draft policy.

"We need to document that common sense should prevail when it came to safety for residents," Cr Seage said.

"There is a perception that if an arborist or tree preservation person attends for a native tree it is a foregone conclusion the application for removal will be refused."

Cr Warren Steel asked for the council to investigate casuarina trees.

"For a matter of interest casuarinas are completely banned in the state of Florida ... they are ahead of us," Cr Steel said.

In a high-profile court case in 2002 Cr Steel was fined $5000 after he chopped down three casuarina trees and one eucalyptus tree at Bombo.

"All I am asking is for a committee, which I am not allowed to be on I guess, to look at casuarinas especially when they are a metre from someone's fence."

Cr Mark Honey said he would hate casuarina trees to be banned.

"It would mean the casuarina forests growing on Terragong Swamp would be banned ... most of the trees on my property would be banned," he said.

Cr Steel said it was not about a ban, but residents should have a chance to remove casuarinas if they were in inappropriate places.

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