News

Bushcare suspends activities as vandalism continues unabated

sandon point tree vandalism 1

A portion of the bushland believed to have been deliberately attacked at Sandon Point.

ENVIRONMENTAL vandals’ deliberate and unrelenting attack on decades of work by volunteers at Sandon Point and other significant coastal sites in Wollongong’s north shows no sign of slowing down.

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Ringbarked for views

So much has the problem grown, frustrated volunteers from the Sandon Point Bushcare Group have decided to suspend their valuable environment work until Wollongong City Council takes a tougher stance on the brazen vandals, who in some cases are felling regenerated bushland for views.

Sandon Point Bushcare’s Marcel Van Wijk said time and again in recent years the group have seen vandalism occur across bushcare sites and natural areas.

”To date there has not been any real or significant measures taken by  Council to  protect these sites, particularly sites that have been  diligently regenerated with thousands of hours of volunteer activity,” Mr Van Wijk said.

”Even our planting of the coastal shrub, (Correa alba), last May along  the southern headland at Sandon was vandalised, with dozens of these freshly planted seedlings being pulled out.”

A stand of myoporum tsouth of Sandon Point has been levelled, with the larger tree deliberately felled with a chainsaw. At Nicholson Park behind Woonona Beach, four banksias have been completely destroyed at the playground.

“For now I can’t see much point in continuing with our voluntary efforts, while ever there’s so much wilful destruction going on,” Mr Van Wijk said.\

SAMSUNG”Most recently, there’s been several fire incidents occur at McCauley’s beach, with the burn areas targeting some mature Banksia trees, a critical food source for Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo. Beautifying our local environment and restoring local biodiversity is a
very satisfying way to volunteer our time and make a contribution to our local community, but if these works are continually undermined then maybe it’s time we suspend our activity.”

Mr Van Wijk said other  bushcare sites in the area have also been hit hard by vandalism,
so for now the Bushcare group will suspend activity at Sandon Point.

”It’s time for a break from Bushcare,” he said.

A spokesman from Wollongong Council said the acts would be investigated.

“Council takes all forms of vandalism seriously, whether it involves trees and vegetation on public reserves or infrastructure,” the spokesperson said.

“As for trees being vandalised on public reserves, Council investigates and where there is sufficient evidence will proceed to a Court prosecution.”

He urged residents to report tree vandalism immediately.

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A banksia felled at Sandon Point, Bulli,

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Bushcare suspends activities as vandalism continues unabated

  1. Just do what some councils do and put up a large screen that totally blocks the view. It’s usually fairly obvious who is benefiting from the damage

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Mick P | September 10, 2017, 9:32 am
  2. if bushcare were responsible and maintained the mess they created and,considered all the people they negatively impact, and not left the community to pay for the clean up they create, maybe the agro they engender would not be so blatant.The extreme statements of ‘no one is entitled to a view,i would rather look at trees than an ocean view,cover every grain of sand.this arrogant approach of these well meaning but irresponsible groups means they should not be allowed on community property within a kilometer of the ocean.The community is still having to spend valuable rate money to clear the destruction of our beaches by irresponsible planting by these people,We have the council spending valuable money putting in aluminium seats and slabs then the views are planted out.We have these disastrous examples like puckeys,Sandon Point which could have been beautifully planted with spread out shade trees ,no understorey,grassed areas dominating and mowed.instead we have an overplanted weed infested fire hazards which endangers all the pedestrian traffic on the cycleway at puckeys.Who should be held responsible for the maintenance of this mess?When we asked bushcare to remove the lantana from this area at puckeys as the council had to get a bull dozer to try and control it the answer was “I regard lantana as a native now it is so common”.Time to banish the cause of this angst in the community.Maybe the new greening strategy will put some balance into the argument but this unique world class invaluable asset has to be out of bounds to these environmental vandals..

    Like

    Posted by ken mc dougall 4 alroy st bulli | September 13, 2017, 11:05 pm
  3. One might say that those who plant inappropriate vegetation are themselves environmental vandals. One could say they could be malicious plantings.

    The local resident is the soft, easy, goto target.
    Those who assume it’s the home owners who whinge due to view loss forget to acknowledge that if the home owners view is lost then it has also been lost for the public who walk the footpath in front of those homes. What right do these vandals (who hide behind the banner of environmentalism), have to rob all of us of these magnificent coastal vistas. Wollongong city council development control plans list a hierarchy of views and the values that are placed on them. Coastal views are at the top of the list and are valued higher than land views. WHOLE views are valued higher than partial views. Property values reflect these views. Council happily charges higher rates because of these views. The home owner paid quite dearly for the view. What right do these vandals have to come along and plant out these views. On the one hand, council will place say a park bench seat strategically to take advantage of a view, then the greenies come along and plant a wall of vegetation in front of to block it out. Who is controlling these people and their malicious agenda to plant out every square inch of land. !!!!!!

    The other notion that they can’t get their head around is this. Tree vandalism can be greatly minimised or stopped altogether by NOT planting a bloody great view blocking tree there in the first place. Why are they so surprised when a tree gets vandalised. Of course, this tends to happen years later after the planting, after its grown high, after its become ‘the norm’ for it to be there, so it seems even worse. But the ‘norm’ was that it was never there originally. Earth and sand can be stabilised if need be by low growing species just as well without the need to plant three story high trees. Stop planting out the views and the vandalism will stop.

    Like

    Posted by Simon Avery | October 7, 2017, 11:22 pm

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