Council's 13th Laman Street fig tree vote

NEWCASTLE councillors are crunching numbers before another showdown vote on the Laman Street figs tonight – and the outcome is far from certain.

Newcastle City Council will resume an extraordinary meeting, for the fifth time, in an attempt to consider Premier Barry O’Farrell’s offer to provide an arborist to do a risk review of the trees.

The council can lawfully vote to stop the chainsaws, after a three-month moratorium on that decision expired on November 25.

Tonight’s decision will be the council’s 13th vote on the fig trees’ future.

Behind-the-scenes discussions are under way, and the numbers in the council chamber are evenly poised.

Cr Tim Crakanthorp, who would vote for an independent assessment, is expected to be absent because of work.

His Labor colleagues will push another risk assessment and for the council to ask the RTA to close Laman Street as a public road.

Greens councillor Michael Osborne has said he will try to revive previously abandoned talks on an independent risk assessment.

On the other side of the chamber, councillors who initially voted to remove the trees have privately discussed whether to back the assessment.

At least three councillors say they will not change their votes.

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