Trees obstructing views suffer poisoned fate
THE strategic poisoning and vandalism of trees to enhance ocean views is not a new thing in coastal areas - it has been seen at most populated areas along the Clarence Coast.
In 2013 it was Yamba's turn, with traces of herbicide Round-Up found in a soil sample study by council following a mass die-off of vegetation along the crest of Flinders Park.
More recently, young trees planted at South Head Park, near Convent beach, were felled or damaged.
The alleged vandalism has resulted in rows of dead vegetation, and last week, councillors gathered at Flinders Park to decide what to do.
Local residents Brian and Heather Badgery, who have lived in the area for more than 50 years, told them it was about time the views were returned.
"I think it's very sad to see what has happened with the trees the way they are, but it's not surprising in the sense that they really have just taken over... what has historically been one of Yamba's greatest assets," Mr Badgery said.
"What council needs to do is simply have low vegetation growth on the edge of the bank... so people can see over without having to walk 200 metres to the viewing area. There are plenty of low-growing shrubs that would be good."
They were also opposed to the idea of a sign, worth more than $2000, being put in place to deter vandals, as recommended by council officers.
But at Tuesday's council meeting, councillors Greg Clancy and Debrah Novak said they felt a sign as a temporary measure was the only way forward.
Cr Clancy was also concerned that landscaping the region to offer a better view for residents would only reward the vandals' bad behaviour.
"We do have a responsibility to maintain natural vegetation, but we can't manicure it to please people," he said.
"Let's not give into the vandals who killed the trees."
Councillor Andrew Baker, meanwhile, said he didn't believe the installation of a sign aimed at warding off potential offenders would be an effective deterrent.
"There has to be a way we will give enough so the community don't feel they have to take it into their own hands," he said.
"There are a lot of good things going for both Yamba sites. We can share them, we don't have to block the views."
After a debate, the council voted by majority to fell and leave on site the remaining dead trees at both affected areas.
A landscape plan detailing proposed vegetation layers and elevations will also be submitted to council by March 2017.