Vandals poison trees
VANDALS have been poisoning native vegetation along the Inverloch foreshore.
The vandalism came to the attention of community members after they noticed the death of multiple indigenous trees, shrubs and understorey species along Ramsey Boulevard.
Bass Coast Shire Council environment manager Alison Creighton said vegetation at Pensioner’s Point had suffered recurring damage for a number of years.
“Last year trees were drilled and filled with herbicide so this year when a few areas turned brown, we sent samples away to a laboratory which confirmed poisoning, as well as what kind of poison was used and told us it occurred quite recently,” she said.
“We don’t have enough evidence at this stage to identify someone we could prosecute, but we’ll be writing to some neighbouring land owners emphasising the importance of coastal vegetation and our commitment to protecting it.
“We’ll also be asking that if they’ve seen anything, would they let us know.”
Ms Creighton said vandalism often occurred to improve the views of nearby homes.
“Some people destroy vegetation inadvertently by doing something like building a BMX track through the foreshore, but the majority of the time, view enhancement seems to be the main reason and main benefit,” she said.
“Some are concerned with the fire risk, but we do an assessment every year with the CFA and undertake fire management activities to ensure there is no danger.”
Ms Creighton said if an offender was found, they would be handed over to police and face large fines, whilst the council would replant any dead vegetation with plants of the same size and height so no one would benefit from enhanced views.
Council will also monitor the area and if required, erect large signs on the foreshore to advise people of the vandalism and encourage people to report suspicious activity.
Bass Coast Shire Councillor Jordan Crugnale said she was disgusted to find holes drilled in trees along the narrow strip of vegetation, which she said was vulnerable to the tidal salt water encroachment and prevailing winds.
“The deep roots of the trees bind the soil to help minimise erosion and the habitat value is also significant,” she said.
“We need the community to be aware of these extreme incidents of environmental vandalism and to report any suspicious behaviour along our foreshore and in our town.”
The councillor, who lives in Inverloch, said whilst some may believe the value of a view overrides the value of the coastline, a great deal was at risk due to the damage.
“(It provides) protection from the elements, habitat for wildlife and birds, and (vandalism) increases the risk of further erosion on a vulnerable coastline,” she said.
“Inverloch has had five sand slips over the course of just a few months, resulting in several beach access paths being closed to the public.
“The community value their treed surrounds and coastline and are very concerned and vocal about it, and so they should be.
“These violent acts of environmental vandalism damage our visual amenity and put our coastline at risk.
“I am saddened and disappointed by such disregard and selfishness.”
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