Tall, striking male required for long-term relationship; Ballarat location preferred; strong affinity for Art Deco essential.
No, this is not a lonely hearts ad for Valentine's Day: these are the City of Ballarat's requirements for a palm tree to replace the lifeless specimen currently standing out the front of Civic Hall.
While the council said the current palm tree, which was confirmed dead in October last year, would remain standing for the time being, it confirmed officers were on the look-out for a replacement.
The council's director of infrastructure and environment Mr Demeo said the male of the species was preferred as they do not produce dates, which could create an extra hazard for the public.
He also said a replacement tree would have to have similar dimensions to the two other existing palm trees facing Doveton Street. Both of these have been confirmed as still alive.
All three trees were transported from Echuca - where they had to be removed due to the construction of a new Murray River crossing - and installed in front of the Civic Hall.
According to a planning assessment, Heritage Victoria said the palms - referred to as Canary Island Date Palms - had aesthetic and historical significance, although an Environment Effects Statement said they had no heritage significance.
Originally they were planned to remain in Campaspe Shire in northern Victoria.
Mr Demeo said council officers discovered the opportunity for their transfer through a routine exchange with the Vic Roads regional director at the time.
"The City of Ballarat was able to receive these palms at no cost," he told The Courier, adding that the only expense was related to their transportation and installation.
The City of Ballarat will again look for an opportunity to secure a tree which meets these dimensionsTerry Demeo, City of Ballarat
He said the dimensions of the palms and the association with Art Deco architecture were among the main reasons for accepting them.
Shortly after the trees were planted outside the renovated Civic Hall, the northernmost palm fell to the ground towards the facade of the building. It was put back into its original place and supports were constructed around it and its two companion trees.
Less than a year later, it was later pronounced dead, with its demise attributed to the move and the change in soil and climactic conditions.
In a statement, Mr Demeo said: "The City of Ballarat will again look for an opportunity to secure a tree which meets these dimensions, ideally one which can be relocated from an area which is within close proximity to minimise costs and to reduce climate impact on the relocated tree."
Once a new companion for the other trees is found and transferred for replanting at Civic Hall, Mr Demeo said the current, dead one would be removed at the same time to minimise crane and transportation costs.
But until the right tree is found at a suitable height, the fronds will get ever sparser at the northern end of Civic Hall.
A short history of the Civic Hall palm trees
Smaller palms arrived first. They have kept a lower profile than their Doveton Street North counterparts.
November 8, 2018:Palm trees cause headaches for commuters
The trees complete the journey from the north of the state and are planted.
Less than 24 hours after installation, over it goes.
November 2018: Questions asked over costs of transport/ fall
Transport for the palms confirmed $16,000 with VicRoads meeting a portion of those costs.
October 2019: City of Ballarat confirms Civic Hall palm tree has died
The journey and the trauma of the fall proved too much for the tree. The council confirmed its death following several independent arborists telling The Courier they thought the tree was on its way out.
February 2020: Ballarat Civic Hall's dead palm tree not going anywhere
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