VIDEO: Laman Street a year on

A YEAR has passed since Newcastle’s Laman Street figs fell but emotions about the infamous chapter of the city’s civic history are still running hot.

With the support of the riot squad, the operation to remove the avenue of iconic trees began before dawn on January 31 last year and went into the evening and for several days.

It was the culmination of more than two years of debates, 22 council meetings, two court cases, death threats and the expenditure of $1.6million of ratepayers’ money.

Today 14 tree stumps and wire fencing are the only visible reminder of last January’s events.

‘‘The street looks like we thought it would look; no one was covered in glory,’’ Save Our Figs leader Caity Raschke said this week.

‘‘The two main things that came from it were that it made the community very angry and it tarnished the reputations of some of the people involved in giving expert advice.’’

The street’s reconstruction will reach a major milestone in the next fortnight, with  commencement of above-ground  works.

It follows the installation of new water and electricity infrastructure.

‘‘We are still on track for the program that we had set out in the council report for opening the road in October-November this year,’’ Newcastle City Council’s infrastructure services manager John Johnston said this week.

The first of the replacement trees, which will grow in vaults, will be planted in  April.

‘‘Some of them are at the depot now and the rest will be delivered when we start putting them in,’’ Mr Johnston said.

Those who fought to save the figs will mark the anniversary with a picnic in Civic Park at 4pm on Sunday.

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