A resident was walking through a Crown Reserve on Bawley Beach at Bawley Point, when they noticed a home owner using a chainsaw on large trees. The resident was quick to contact Council after hours’ phone number and alerted Rangers who responded. The Ranger spoke to the resident who readily admitted he had cut the trees down to improve his view.
After an inspection by Council’s Natural Environment Officer, it was estimated the trees, all Banksias and Eucalypt were at about 30-50 years old one would have been at least 15 meters high. This sort of vegetation provides important food and habitat for a range of native species. Possums and gliders feed on the flowers of banksias and micro bats often seek shelter during the day in the nooks that old banksias provide. These important trees also stabilise foreshore areas and help to stop erosion.
In this case the offender was delivered a $3000 fine. The offence falls under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act - Development without consent.
A resident from Vincentia was fined last year $8000 in the Land and Environment Court for similar actions but on sand dunes.
Council will take swift action when trees are damaged or removed without permission where we can identify the culprits. Anyone who is thinking about removing any tree or vegetation should contact Shoalhaven City Council to obtain information about what permissions or permits may be required. It is never ok to remove trees from public land without consent.
You will often require approval for the removal of native trees on private land as well. More information can be found on Councils website: http://shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/My-Property/Trees-on-my-land For further information or assistance in determining whether you need approval you can contact Council’s Environmental Services section on (02) 4429 3610.
If you see trees being removed and you suspect the work is illegal you can contact Council’s Rangers Section (02) 4429 3433 for investigation.