POISONED TREES: Esplanade land recovery could take years
IT COULD take years for land along Hervey Bay's esplanade to recover after a local man poisoned multiple trees.
The Fraser Coast council is now sending a strong warning to environmental vandals after reaching an out-of-court settlement with the resident yesterday for using herbicide to poison the trees in Point Vernon.
Under the settlement, the resident will be forced to compensate the council $20,000 for the cost of treating the site, removing the poisoned trees and replanting.
But it could be years before the poisoned area is completely rehabilitated, says Fraser Coast environment councillor David Lewis.
The residual effect of the poison could last up to two years in the soil.
"We're trying to get the message across that it won't improve your view by destroying the community's trees," Cr Lewis said.
"That's a question whether we can remove enough soil and replace it to get rid of the poison."
"It could mean you've got an ugly bare patch for a couple of years."
The incident has led the council to introduce a new policy to tackle illegal poisoning and tree destruction in the Fraser Coast.
Cr Lewis said this would include signage and shade cloth to "make it clear" any tree vandalism would not be tolerated.
The latest poisoning isn't an isolated case on the Fraser Coast.
"There have been six or seven incidents of tree destruction this year, and frankly its time we beefed up our options for trying to stamp it out," Cr Lewis said.
"The other alternative is we could prosecute through the courts, and they would impose a fine.
Cr Lewis said there was no definitive motive for the poisoning.
"In many cases ... it's because people want to enhance their views," Cr Lewis said.
"But there have been occasions of vandalism where views are simply not an issue.
"Unless you can identify the perpetrator and they're prepared to tell you why they did it, you're only guessing at what the motive might be."