‘Your duty to dob in tree poisoners’

EDITORIAL: Dob in those who kill trees

AN angry Albury mayor Kevin Mack is urging residents to dob in the vandals who poisoned and removed trees on Nail Can Hill and Black Range reserves.

Cr Mack and council staff yesterday inspected 27 trees with drill holes in their trunks, filled with herbicide.

The trees were either dead, visibly sick or had been sawn up for firewood.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to see environmental vandalism like this,” Cr Mack said.

“These are protected species in an area listed as protected.”

Residents told the council last month that the trees had been poisoned and were dying.

The worst affected trees — some 200 years old — are on a 40-metre walk off a Burrows Road fire trail.

The reserves contain endangered vegetation such as box gums.

Cr Mack said the poisoning was a premeditated act and there were other ways to get wood.

“This is one of Albury’s most significant areas of remnant vegetation and the loss of these established trees on its edges is unacceptable,” he said.

Cr Mack said the perpetrators, who had taken great risks, probably lived nearby.

“People living in Norris Park must know who they are,” he said.

“We need to send a clear message that this is not OK.”

The council’s vegetation officer, Steve Onley, said a poisoned tree could die in weeks.

“It looks like a herbicide has been used, something like Roundup,” he said.

Mr Onley believed the poisoning had been carried out in daylight.

“It’s not something that could easily be done at night,” he said.

“That is why we hope to get the evidence for a prosecution,” he said.

“Lots of people walk their dogs along this trail and that’s how we got our first complaint — people noticed trees dying.

“We are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.”

Mr Onley said there was a maximum fine of $1.1 million for such offences.

Barry Tucker, a resident whose house backs on to the Norris Park reserve, said he was shocked that the trees had been poisoned.

“We enjoy the birds and kangaroos grazing behind us,” he said.

“Slowly but surely the trees are disappearing — we will be living in Dean Street soon.”

Mr Onley can be phoned on (02) 6023 8111 with information.

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