Pine cones the size of rockmelons scare Swansea Heads family

A Swansea Heads family has urged the removal of a Norfolk Island pine after a cone the size of a rockmelon fell and almost hit an 18-month-old child.

The tree is about 28metres tall, has a trunk diameter of 1.1metres and a 14-metre canopy, a Lake Macquarie City Council report said.

Council staff are trying to block removal and want the tree, which is not a native species, put on an interim list of the council’s significant tree register.

Gregory Sedgwick, owner of the Pacific Drive property where the tree grows, has applied to the council for its removal.

Mr Sedgwick’s application said the tree was dropping cones, causing risk of injury to people renting his property.

His neighbours, Kylie and Adam Lynch, were concerned for the safety of their children.

‘‘As the tree grows, so does the size of the seed pods it drops from a greater height,’’ Mrs Lynch said.

Mrs Lynch said a cone ‘‘the size of a rockmelon’’ recently fell from the tree and landed ‘‘within centimetres’’ of her 18-month-old son Jacob.

Her three boys, including Byron, 4, and Noah, 6, often played in the garden.

‘‘It’s a beautiful tree but it was planted too close to the boundary and the interests and health of my children come first,’’ she said.

A council report said the tree ‘‘appears to be in a healthy and stable condition’’ and was ‘‘a significant focal point of the area’’.

Mayor Greg Piper said council staff were being unreasonable.

‘‘I’m mindful the Norfolk Island pine is not native,’’ Cr Piper said.

Councillors plan to inspect the site next month before voting on the matter.

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