IT was a 200-year-old tree that formed the gateway at the northern entrance to Nambucca Heads and now it is gone.
At Thursday's council meeting Nambucca Shire councillors felt the full brunt of heated community backlash about the loss of the tree, which it had resolved to protect in 2007.
And to make matters worse the tree was cut down by contractors at the behest of council staff - albeit without the knowledge of the council's director of environment or the general manger.
Cr Paula Flack was ropable.
"This old tree, full of nesting hollows, was cut down in the height of summer, the height of breeding season and in the face of a standing resolution of the council," Cr Flack said.
"This vandalism by the council has got to stop.
Nambucca resident John Tait said the removal of the eucalypt was just the latest in a long list of incidents over the last five years.
"Nambucca is known for its natural beauty," Mr Tait explained.
"The loss of trees means the loss of tourist assets that take at least 25 to 50 years to replace - they are not like buildings.
"It is not a matter of budgets that either fix roads and bridges or take care of trees - we need both.
"I would like to see a change in council's attitude from trees being seen as problem to seeing them as something that benefits the community."
The council passed five resolutions on the matter, including the supply of nesting boxes and planting of replacement trees, the development of a tree inventory and also council staff training
After the meeting the mayor Rhonda Hoban said the loss of the tree had highlighted a communication problem within the council.
"The previous director, Bruce Redman, had this information but he has retired and the information went no further," Cr Hoban said.
"The report of the tree removalist said the tree itself was not in great health, however, people are upset the correct process was not followed nor alternatives explored."
Mr Tait said the resolutions were easy enough but it remained to be seen whether there would be any real attitude change.
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