THE future of a pin oak tree in Sale Street is in limbo after Orange councillors reached a stalemate on Tuesday over its removal.
Councillors were asked to consider removing the tree, outside Classic Country Rose, to create one extra car parking space after 12 spaces were lost when a pedestrian refuge and turning lane was installed as part of the Summer Centre redevelopment.
The tree would have been replaced with an established pin oak further down the street in front of Dominos at a cost of $11,479.
But six councillors, Glenn Taylor, Neil Jones, Reg Kidd, Ron Gander, Jeff Whitton, Ash Brown voted to save the tree and six, Russell Turner, Scott Munro, Kevin Duffy, John Davis, Chris Gryllis and Jason Hamling, voted to tear it down.
Cr Kidd attempted to use his casting vote as chair of the infrastructure policy meeting to end the deadlock and save the tree, but was told by Cr Gryllis only the sustainable development committee chair had the authority.
Councillors will vote on the tree’s removal again at a full council meeting on October 15 where it will be up to the mayor to decide on the tree’s fate if a deadlock is reached again.
Classic Country Rose owner Sheryl Lewis said the tree’s removal would create a much needed extra parking space and was worth the cost.
“Maybe they should think of how much it’s cost us a business, I’m sure we’ve lost more than $11,000 in business,” she said.
But Cr Jones said the tree’s removal would not add more parking to the area.
“It’s a beautiful specimen, it’s a mature oak tree that adds to the streetscape,” he said.
Cr Taylor said spending almost $12,000 to create one car space was an overreaction and an unnecessary expense.
General manager Garry Styles said the Summer Centre’s developers had offset the 12 parking spaces lost in Sale Street in the shopping centre’s car park as required.
Cr Munro said he was sympathetic to the tree “but it should go” to give customers more parking.
“There’s millions of [trees], our first consideration should be the shopkeepers,” he said.
Cr Turner said the tree’s younger replacement would remain a “prime tree” in the area long after the “grandfather” tree died.
“[The businesses] are paying CBD rates, they deserve every consideration we can give them,” he said.
But Cr Kidd it wasn’t as simple as “bunging” a young tree in.