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.
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.\
”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.