Council updates vegetation vandalism policy

Council has endorsed amendments to its tree and vegetation vandalism policy following a spate of incidents across the region.

One of the more high-profile cases involved 18 native trees at Bucasia Beach being illegally cut down last month.

Cr Karen May said there had been an increase in vandalism to vegetation and trees across the region over the last 12 months, especially along the region’s foreshores.

“The damage is both disappointing and alarming because this vegetation helps stabilise the sand dunes and provides protection to coastal properties in severe weather events, such as cyclones, by acting as a barrier,” she said.

“It is frustrating that some locals prioritise the view of the beach from their property over the stability, habitat and safety the foreshore provides.

“To better protect the foreshore, council has made some amendments to the existing tree and vegetation policy, which was adopted in 2017.

“These include changes to the weighting criteria used to classify significant, highly significant and extremely significant acts of vegetation vandalism, as well as minor changes to wording in the policy.”

Cr May reminded residents that interfering with a tree on public land was illegal under the tree and vegetation vandalism policy.

“Fines from $267 to $6672, excluding remediation costs, are in place for those caught damaging the environment,” she said.

“Signage can also be erected where significant damage has occurred.”

If a tree on public land requires trimming or maintenance, residents can advise council by calling 1300 MACKAY (622 529).