Residents in and around Kingscliff’s upmarket Terrace Street are being asked for information which could identify the person who poisoned and killed a large Forest Red Gum there which council now has to be removed for safety reasons.
Several complaints by residents to have it removed were made to council before the poisoning took place.
It is the second large red gum killed in the shire in under two years by what is suspected to be residents wanting to improve their views.
In the Terrace Street incident, Tweed Shire Council had in 2011 been requested twice by some residents to remove the tree, but after inspection it was found to be in sound condition and some minor deadwood cut off.
But more recently, council staff inspected the tree after a resident claimed it was dangerous. Staff found it to be badly deteriorated with 8mm drill holes at its base indicating someone had deliberately poisoned it.
The deterioration was irreversible and staff said the tree would have to be removed because of the risk of falling limbs.
They recommended that when removing it, several metres of the stump be left there and a sign mounted on it advising the tree had been wilfully destroyed, that ‘Tweed Shire Council has a zero tolerance on such actions’, and for people to call council if they had information on the tree killing or other similar vandalism in the area.
Councillors unanimously backed the move, but the ‘zero tolerance’ threat was not spelt out.
In June 2010, a large forest red gum which lent its name to ‘Shady Lane’ in Banora Point was also drilled and poisoned and a sign mounted on its stump after council removed the tree.
But staff said they removed the sign after two years.
But it’s believed no-one has ever been prosecuted for that or any other tree vandalism in the shire, of which there have been several incidents along the Tweed Coast over the years, in streets and dunes.
Council’s recreation services manager Stewart Brawley told media tree poisoning was not too common in the shire, saying some people wanted to get rid of trees for views or just because they were a nuisance by dropping leaves and seeds.