Trees killed for money

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Trees killed for money

Disgraceful act: Bass Coast Shire Council's environment manager Alison Creighton and a poisoned tree in Bayview Avenue, Inverloch

VANDALS have strengthened their attack on Inverloch’s environment for the sake of a sea view.

People have been poisoning trees on the foreshore and nature-strips for many years, killing trees standing in the way of an ocean outlook, which adds value to properties.

Now the culprits are entering private properties and targeting trees on house blocks, alarming residents who feel their space has been invaded.

Authorities, however, are relatively powerless unless offenders are caught in the act, but affected residents suspect attacks are executed at night.

Police have told residents they need evidence and so too has Bass Coast Shire Council.

Council reported about 300 cases of poisoned trees across the shire every year.
A poisoned tree on the nature-strip in Bayview Avenue, Inverloch is now unlikely to survive.

A concerned resident, who did not wish to be named for fear of repercussions, contacted The Star recently, stressed after working with authorities but to no avail.

They believed the gum tree in their frontyard was poisoned as a ring of dying grass surrounds it. Another tree in their yard also shows signs of poisoning.

A neighbour’s tree has been poisoned and another tree has been attacked in the next street.

All four trees are in a straight line and with them gone, an uninterrupted sea view would be afforded.

“It’s horrible. When you are away, you try to put it out of your mind and when you are here, you have to try and change how you feel about the place,” the resident said.

“That’s especially so when people are trespassing on your property and poisoning your property.”

The resident believed the tree was poisoned in autumn last year and took a long time to show signs of distress.

“We believe someone has had another go. Around Easter, we came down and it was the first thing we noticed and the manna gum on the corner of the property has been done too,” the resident said.

“We went to the police and they said they could not do anything unless they saw someone in the act.

“We went privately to look at surveillance cameras and that was going to cost about $300.”

They employed an arborist to inspect the tree but the resident believed it was too late.

The larger tree was on their block when they bought it 30 years ago and could be at least 80-years-old.

“It really was central to all of our activities,” the resident said.

“In summer, the yard was in deep shade and there was a leafy feeling. Now there is not a lot of foliage and the top is totally bare. It’s a totally different feeling.”

Council’s environment manager Alison Creighton said the issue was common across the shire, particularly on foreshore areas. Pensioners Point at Inverloch, Rhyll, Cape Woolamai and Silverleaves are hotspots.

“People should be vigilant for signs of trees being attacked. Across the shire, we only have less than 10 per cent of remnant vegetation,” Ms Creighton said.

“Where trees have been destroyed, we can put up a sign up urging people to contact council if they see anything and the sign will stay until trees grow to the same height.”

Offenders can receive infringement notices or be taken to court. Some are required to plant trees on their land to replace what they have destroyed.

Individuals can be fined $704 and businesses $1408, however if the matter proceeds to court, a magistrate can fine offenders $120,000.

 

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Posted by on Jul 11 2012. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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