The debate about Macksville's riverside Kaffir Plums has spread beyond the trees themselves to the maintenance required to keep the area clean.
In their submission to the Nambucca Shire Council, volunteer green thumbs for more than a quarter of a century, Joan's Army, wrote that "having cleaned up thousands of berries from walkways, streets, gardens and bat droppings from tables, seats and paths over numerous years, our members are very aware of the liability and the costs if the trees are not removed".
"The reality is the area requires constant maintenance and costs associated with that (river wall damage due to roots, exposed roots and overhead powerlines are also in the mix) will be ongoing ...
"The protest, started by business owners, really made us realise how naive we have been to believe that anyone really cares about the hours and years we have toiled in that area, getting up early while others are still in bed.
"From reports we have heard ... we won't be missed, which is a sad reflection as small towns survive on volunteers.
"We find making the decision to leave the River St CBD area quite saddening ... we will continue tending other gardens with council's continued permission. As expected no-one from the protest has put up their hands to help."
The council voted to write to Joan's Army and express their sincere appreciation for in excess of 25 years of dedicated service they have provided in maintaining the River Street foreshore.
Update: River St business owner Mickey Hawkes has in fact been sweeping the area in the mornings.
"It takes me a good 40 minutes to get it clear," Mickey said.
"The care of this area is the real issue - I don't blame Joan's Army for withdrawing.
"I am however disappointed the council has still voted to chop the trees down ... and fear how soon that might happen."
Another resident, Mary Forbes, said given the huge public support for the trees, she was disappointed with the council's response.
"It would have been such a simple thing to include a plan for care of the trees to extend their life in the general foreshore plan," Mary said.
"I am dismayed that Hoban, Ainsworth and Reed were so resistant to community feeling - they have even failed to give us an undertaking that replacement trees will be planted soon and no guarantee that the ''staged removal'' won't begin tomorrow.
I commend Susan Jenvey and David Jones for representing their constituents on this issue."