Vandals have again attacked vegetation in a Bermagui reserve, this time destroying trees planted by children from the town’s primary school.
A spokesperson from Bega Valley Shire Council said tree vandalism had been an ongoing issue in the Bermagui North Lagoon Flora and Fauna Reserve, but council had become aware of the most recent destruction in early November.
This time four mature banksias had been vandalised in a section between the dunes of Moorhead Beach and the lagoon.
“The banksias that were vandalised were planted in 1997 by students of Bermagui Primary School,” the council spokesperson said.
“The school uses the site for its geography and science classes and the Bermagui Flora and Fauna Reserve Trust has been regenerating the landscape of the Bermagui North Lagoon for over 30 years.”
If a person is caught causing damage such as this fines of up to $6000 can be issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, or up $2200 under the Crown Lands Act.
“At this stage we have no leads and we are asking the community to come forward with any information which may help us identify those responsible,” the spokesperson said.
Regular ongoing visits to this site will now be conducted at random times by council staff and rangers.
“The site has been regenerated and is continually maintained by volunteers,” the council spokesperson said.
“These particular banksias were grown and planted by students from the Bermagui Primary School, so to see them carelessly destroyed is a shame to the community and to the environment.”
Early in 2017, concerned residents visited the same site with the Bega District News and estimated at least 20 trees, mainly coastal banksias, had been felled close to the sand dunes.
Council has considered installing signage at the location if the vandalism continues, similar to what has been placed at a site on Pacific Drive in Bermagui where trees were illegally cut down.