CONCERNED resident Chris Duggan is worried the “dreadful state” of Mandurah's iconic Moreton Bay fig tree near the Sebel is deteriorating beyond repair.
Mrs Duggan, who holidayed with her family in Mandurah for 20 years before moving here seven years ago, said it was sad and upsetting to see the tree as a shadow of what it used to be.
She said in its former glory the tree was lush with thick foliage and the area was constantly busy, acting as a meeting place for families with children able to fish off the wall.
But Mrs Duggan said now the tree was losing lots of foliage with hundreds of birds nesting there.
The former business owner walks around the area nearly every day and said she had noticed more and more birds and nests appearing in the tree's branches each year.
With the amount of bird droppings and the smell which she described as “rotten eggs”, Mrs Duggan said people could not even get close to it.
“It's looking really bad,” she said.
“Its lower canopy is completely covered by bird droppings.
“It's absolutely disgusting and not an enjoyable place to be.”
Mrs Duggan said something needed to be done before it was too late.
“It would be a shame to lose such an iconic tree,” she said.
“It's one of the biggest Moreton Bays around.
“You just have to look at the one near Gloria Jeans to see how beautiful it is meant to look.
“Something needs to be done to save it.”
According to City of Mandurah chief executive officer Mark Newman said the City of Mandurah has a program in place to ensure the health of the tree and to clean away the bird droppings underneath caused by nesting birds.
“This problem is a concern for the City and we are dedicated to working towards a solution,” he said.
“Certain species of cormorants are using the fig tree as a breeding ground, which has resulted in excessive nesting in the tree.
“A recent report by the Department of Environment and Conservation has advised the City to remove the nests once the breeding season has ended.”
Last year the City started a program to remove the nests to discourage nesting in the tree.
“As the phosphate from the bird droppings burns the tree, the City also cleans the tree and the ground below with a high pressure cleaner and re-mulches to keep the tree healthy,” Mr Newman said.
“Last year there were more than 200 bird nests in the Moreton Bay Fig Tree and that number has reduced this year.
“It is expected the City’s program will have an earlier start next year to further reduce nesting in the tree.
“It is hoped the City can achieve the balance between protecting the tree and providing a suitable breeding habitat for a reasonable number of birds.
“The City has not received a large number of complaints about the tree and the smells, however the City will keep working to deter birds from nesting in the tree as it could lead to public health issues.”