BELLINGEN Shire residents are well known for being environmentally aware and holding its vegetation in high regard, so it is surprising that the town is suffering a spate of vegetation vandalism.
Bellingen Shire Council have issued a statement in regards to the vandalism and what they describe as a new low.
A Bellingen Shire Council spokesperson said, “Reports of vegetation vandalism in and around our Shire are traditionally rare and isolated instances, because we are a community that wants to protect and enhance the beauty of the natural environment we are lucky to share and call home.
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“Unfortunately, there has recently been numerous examples of vegetation vandalism to public and private property, which is very disappointing because the bad behaviour of a few people directly affects us as a community and reflects poorly on our town.”
Specifically, vandals have been targeting public gardens and landscaping works in Main Street, Church Street, Oak Street and north Bellingen’s Wheatley Street Roundabout with feature trees, plants and shrubs either destroyed or ripped out of garden beds.
One of the areas that has been damaged is the grape vine planted to create shade where the camphor laurel trees were removed in 2017 with much controversy.
The grape vine, planted as part of the Main Street Outdoor Upgrade was well on its way to creating the much needed shade but is now dying.
Numerous instances of plant poisonings have also been observed, and the illegal dumping of garden waste, lawn and pruning clippings in public gardens and landscaping works has unfortunately become a regular occurrence.
Council crews, community members and Main Street traders have collectively cleaned up the mess left behind by these careless vandals and private and public surveillance cameras are currently being checked to try and identify the culprits.
The spokesperson said, “These instances of vegetation vandalism have also been referred to the Police and anyone with further information is urged to contact Bellingen Police on 6655 1444.”
By Sandra MOON