Council staff and residents alike have been shocked by the latest illegal tree clearing at Dolphin Cove, Tura Beach.
Six mature banksias, some estimated more than 30 years old, were recently cut down in the Dolphin Cove Public Reserve, seemingly for the purpose of view enhancement.
BVSC Natural Assets Officer, Andrew Morrison said the illegal tree removal is far from an isolated incident.
“Unfortunately we often get reports from concerned residents that some individuals are clearing or poisoning trees on public land for their own benefit, and it’s pretty obvious who would benefit most from the clearing in most cases,” he said.
“This is a serious issue that affects the local wildlife, soil stability, water quality and the enjoyment of these public areas by everyone else. People would think twice about knocking down public infrastructure yet they feel justified in cutting down significant public trees; it’s a real shame.
“Council is currently targeting this type of illegal clearing, and people found to have illegally cleared vegetation on public land will be fined.
“Where the guilty parties cannot be determined, Council is investigating a range of view screens for installation in the newly formed view corridors which will include signs informing the public that illegal clearing has taken place and providing contact details should anyone have information that may help lead to a prosecution.”
Michael Fiedler from South East Local Lands Services said there are also restrictions regarding the clearing of vegetation on private land.
“There are serious penalties for illegally clearing native vegetation and the legislation can be complex at times so I’d advise people to check with Council or, if the intended clearing is in a rural location, the Local Lands Services office on 02 6491 8200 if they plan to clear any vegetation on their own property.
“The message is pretty clear; if you don’t own the land you shouldn’t be attempting any clearing, and if you do own the land make sure you are legally allowed to remove the vegetation,” he said.
If people have any concerns about vegetation on public land or want to report any illegal clearing they can contact Council on 02 6499 2222.