Eurobodalla Shire Council has offered to replace an unmarked memorial tree removed from Nelligen after an arborist feared it threatened children in an adjacent playground.
Family members expressed concern on social media that the "Les Rixon Memorial Tree" was removed without consultation.
The council has since reached out to the family and said the case showed the need for memorial trees in public places to be clearly identified.
"Council's work crew was replacing a rotted retaining wall at the playground in Nelligen," a spokesperson said.
"The crew noticed that tree roots had extended into playground area and arranged for an arborist to conduct a risk assessment. The tree was rated a high risk and removed for the safety of children using the playground."
In 2017 two people were injured when a tree fell in the Nelligen foreshore park.
The council said the Rixon family should have been consulted, but it was unclear the tree had been planted as a memorial.
"We regret the tree was removed without talking with the family who planted it, but unfortunately council staff were unaware it was a memorial tree," the spokesperson said.
"While this might not have changed the outcome, because the tree was presenting a danger, the council would have contacted the family to discuss the removal and make suitable arrangements, such as offering to make a memento from the tree to present to the family."
Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes has offered to replace the tree in a safer spot.
"Now that we know the tree held special meaning, the Mayor will be in touch with the family to formally apologise and to offer a replacement tree in a different location," the spokesperson said.
"We'll also now be looking at a way to make sure memorial trees planted in public places have a plaque on them to avoid this happening again."