The axe has not fallen on Macksville's riverside kaffir plum trees yet, but it may only be a stay of execution.
At their meeting last Thursday councillors were asked to vote on a recommendation to remove the kaffir plum trees staged over two years and replace them with trees better suited to the popular tourist space.
Resident Ben Walters spoke passionately on behalf of the trees, saying they were significant to the community and had been saved in the past.
"They are part of what is iconic in Macksville, that view with the bridge, the river and the trees," Mr Walters said.
He said garden beds around their roots could improve their health, extending their life span to up to 40 years.
He disagreed with the arborist's report that put the span at between five and 15 years and was not pleased that there had been no community consultation on the matter.
Following his presentation Cr Janine Reed put forward an amendment that a period of public consultation begin giving people the opportunity to read the arborist's report and recommendations for themselves.
"Following the consultation period a further report come back to council before any decision is made," Cr Reed said.
Cr Rhonda Hoban said it was important the community had access to accurate information on the draft proposal, which was commissioned by the shire's Business Advisory Committee.
"Council appreciates trees are important along the river front to provide shade for people and cars and keep the area attractive," Cr Hoban said.
"This is why the proposal suggests keeping the two large native hills fig trees and the broad-leaf paperbark tree and to replace the kaffir plum trees over time with more appropriate Australian native species."
Cr Hoban said council was open to consider changes to the report's recommendations.
"Council wants to be proactive with the management of Macksville's foreshore and I do not want this issue put back on the shoulders of a future council in five years' time when the trees could reach the end of their natural life."
She said that staging the removal would ensure the tress planted in the first stage were well established and thriving before considering the next stage.
The report titled 'An assessment on the health and structure of nine trees', is available on the council's website. River Street businesses and other key stakeholders will be sent a copy of the Arbpro report.
Written submissions are welcome, either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to The General Manager, PO Box 177 Macksville NSW 2447 on or before 30 April.