6000 join petition to save city figs

A petition pushing for 14 figs to remain in Laman Street has amassed about 6000 signatures.

Community campaigners, who have been locked in a long battle with Newcastle City Council over the Cooks Hill trees, said the milestone was reached this week.

It came as lobby group Save Our Figs held daily evening vigils under the trees.

Feeling for the figs have been expressed through posting floral tributes and pictures on trunks and holding performances and giving speeches under the canopy.

Newcastle councillor Nuatali Nelmes attended Wednesday night’s vigil.

She plans to table the petition at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Cr Nelmes was among five councillors who in August voted against cutting down all 14 trees.

Seven councillors voted in favour of removing and replacing the figs.

The trees will be replaced with eight new figs, planted in the centre of the street.

This and associated public works will cost about $1.4million.

Replanting is not expected to start until several months after the existing trees are removed.

Cr Nelmes is concerned about the strip being devoid of shade during summer.

When chopping will start is subject to legal proceedings.

The council had planned to start in September 21, but activists sought a Land and Environment Court injunction.

Work is on hold until at least after court hearings on October 6 and 7.

The Parks and Playgrounds Movement brought the case against the council.

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