Some of the devastation left at the scene | Image supplied.
An investigation has been launched after a cluster of hundred year old trees were illegally torn down at Swansea Heads.
Four Coastal Banksias, located in the sand dunes, were chainsawed in what Lake Macquarie Council suspects was a deliberate move to open up coastal views for nearby residents.
“This is abhorrent, brazen behaviour that has destroyed mature native vegetation,” Council’s Manager Environmental Systems Karen Partington said.
“We unfortunately deal with occasional incidents where people poison trees illegally, but it’s unusual for someone to go to the length of chopping them down entirely.”
Deliberately destroying public trees attracts a $3000 on-the-spot fine, or a penalty of up to $110 000 if the matter goes before the courts.
Council officers inspected the trees this week, placing signs in the area urging anyone with information to get in touch. Brochures with the same message were letterbox dropped to nearby homes.
The stand of banksias were set back into the bush some distance from nearby homes, but Ms Partington said they were the tallest specimens in the area and were therefore the most likely to obstruct views.
“It’s important to note that no-one owns a view”
“Growth of native vegetation in places like this is a sign of a healthy ecosystem – not a red flag for people to take to it with chainsaws.”
The attack is thought to have taken place some time in the last two weeks.
“We believe the trees were removed on or after Saturday 20 January,” Ms Partington said.
“If anyone saw or heard any suspicious chainsaw activity in the area at that time we’d like people to get in touch with us – confidentially if necessary,” Ms Partington said.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Council on 4921 0333.