Stoush over claims of vegetation ‘vandalism’ on headland
Offended - enough is enough - a group of Woolgoolga residents have reacted angrily to a 'vegetation vandalism' sign installed by Coffs Harbour City Council at the headland.
But Council's Director Sustainable Infrastructure Mick Raby stands by the claims; sharing photos of trees cut down along the ocean side of Pollack Esplanade.
"During investigations, council officers formed a view that the trees had been deliberately, rather than accidentally vandalised by parties unknown, with photos showing deliberately sawn cuts," Mr Raby said.
"Council officers formed the same view in relation to herbicide application within the same area."
The Northern Beaches Residents Association (NBRA) has become increasingly critical of Council in recent months.
President Ray Willing has led the charge and recently addressed Council about a proposal for a six-storey apartment block at Trafalgar Street.
He is also at odds with Council over the allocation of federal funds for the long-awaited whale trail project.
The recently installed council sign, warning of vegetation vandalism along the route of the proposed whale trail, had him seeing red.
"To suggest that people in our community are deliberately destroying bushland is inflammatory and just plain wrong. It makes you wonder about Council's motives," Mr Willing said.
The NBRA Facebook page also came out swinging saying it was an example of Council's divide and conquer mentality.
"Woolgoolga is OFFENDED. This is not how the people of Woolgoolga are. It's a clear indication of what you are really doing and the lack of respect for the visionary ideas of a caring community," a recent post read.
The sign, and red tape, was installed on the headland down near Pollack Esplanade.
Mr Raby says Council is simply following relevant policies and procedure.
"Council takes every incident of deliberate environmental damage very seriously. At no time has Council accused any parties of environmental vandalism in this case.
"The signage we have used is as per the usual Environmental Vandalism procedure so we're unsure why the Northern Beaches Residents Association should have accused us of an accusation against them in particular?
"We follow the same procedures across the whole local government area, perhaps they are not aware."
In December last year Council staff were alerted to the issue on the headland during a site visit when they saw six trees had been cut down. It also appeared that herbicide had been applied by unknown parties.
A Vegetation Management Plan for the repair of the damage has been initiated with contractors New Earth Regeneration.