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Council steps up to stamp out illegal vegetation damage

22 January 2020

Temporary fencing will be used as a billboard on Mant Street at Point Vernon to raise community awareness about illegal vegetation damage in the area. 

Fraser Coast Councillor David Lewis said Council would fence off and rehabilitate a section of the Mant Street reserve where it was suspected mature trees had been poisoned. 

“The fence will stay in place until the new vegetation reaches the same height as the fence (about 2.1 metres high) or the site is declared safe and Council officers are confident the vegetation will withstand occasional incidental public access,” Cr Lewis said.

“We estimate rehabilitation costs will exceed $40,000 over a four-year period.
 
“The costs includes all soil testing, installation of temporary fencing and printed fence mesh, replanting and maintaining the site for three years to monitor and manage revegetation.

“Trees are significant and valuable assets and belong to the whole community. Every incident of tree vandalism is a direct cost to ratepayers.”

Cr Lewis said the nature of the dieback, and the localised area of impact, was consistent with the use of herbicide.

“Soil testing results confirmed the presence of a herbicide,” he said. 

“There has been a history of vegetation damage along the Hervey Bay foreshore where trees have been cut down or poisoned. People are sick and tired of it. That’s why Council is stepping up its awareness campaign in a bid to prevent future incidents.”

Cr Lewis said the dead and dying trees would be retained to become roosts and nesting places for other wildlife.

“Because the site is potentially contaminated with herbicide and there is a danger of falling branches, temporary fencing will be installed to restrict access,” he said. 

“The fencing will be wrapped with a printed cover explaining that illegal vegetation damage has occurred at the location, information about the importance of native vegetation and the contact details for Council to report suspicious activities.

“The site will be regularly monitored by Council Officers to ensure safety of the site, the success of revegetation activities and maintenance of the temporary fence and printed shade cloth.”