Tweed Shire Council is still trying to figure out how 50 foreshore trees in Pottsville were lopped without anyone noticing.
The trees were part of stretch of coastal reserve that runs from the mouth of Mooball Creek north along behind Pottsville beach for about 300 metres.
According to council’s resources manager Jane Lofthouse, the damage was discovered a week ago by council rangers but local residents they spoke to were unaware that the desecration had been happening.
‘Basically some council staff were doing regular maintenance and noticed that there were a couple of trees that had been cut down but it wasn’t until we went into bushland away from the tracks that we actually discovered the extent of how much damage had been done,’ she told Echonetdaily.
She said the trees had either been cut down totally or had had chainsaw cuts made in them.
‘So what we have to do now is go and assess those. Most of them, we think, should be right but we will be doing quite a bit of trimming because they’re too top heavy and they’ll potentially eventually fall over,’ she added.
Asked how it could possibly occur without people noticing, Ms Lofthouse said, ‘the vegetation is down the hill from Elanora Street residences.’
She added that, ‘people may have seen someone with a fluoro vest on and just thought it was council going about doing the work.
‘One of our rangers did speak to a number of people along Elanora Avenue but no one had actually seen anything. It was done during the day, too, when people are out, and it is quite thick bush.’
Ms Lofthouse said that while ‘proportionally’ it is quite a small section of the reserve ‘it is quite significant in that they were quite large trees that were attacked – some as much as 8 metres tall.’
She said that what confounded council the most was that nobody obviously stood to benefit from the removal of the trees.
‘When you have trees in a foreshore area cut down it’s usually quite obvious as to whose view has been improved but that’s not the case here. It’s very hard to determine who would have gained from it.
Ms Lofthouse said that if anyone has any information that might help identify the vandals involved they should contact Tweed Shire Council.