THE Grafton Chamber of Commerce has revealed it is behind the push to have jacaranda trees planted in the grounds of the new Grafton jail at Lavadia.
The proposal has alarmed local ecologist Dr Greg Clancy, who described some plants, including jacarandas, chosen for the landscaping as "weeds”.
Chamber president Justin James said the chamber supported the jail's landscaping plant choices.
"Being a driving force behind the new Grafton jail's Landscape plans, I feel I must speak up for the Grafton Chamber in support of the new Grafton Jails' proposed landscape plan,” Mr James said.
"The Grafton Chamber of Commerce has had close ties and built substantial relationships with all areas of the new Jail project.
"We have worked closely with Northern Pathways, Serco and John Holland from the onset of the project, and have consulted with their teams throughout
"I believe it's fair to say that one of the main reasons the new jail has included jacaranda trees within their landscape plan was namely due to our committee asking them to do so.”
He disputed Dr Clancy's claims the jail landscaping ignored ecological needs of the area.
"The new jail's landscape plan was without doubt created with careful consideration and due diligence to outlying areas,” he said.
Mr James said the the landscaping plan includes many native plants and trees to complement the small feature planting of Jacarandas.
"The planned planting is a simple testament to our Jacaranda City status, which if not monitored and maintained could easily be lost to another town in the not too distant future,” Mr James said.
"It never fails to amaze me that a tree which is so firmly rooted in our town, and has given our town a festival which injects thousands of dollars into our economy every year can still be the topic of negative publicity.”