A VOLUNTEER coastal environment group is calling on urgent action to track down those responsible for killing trees along the McCrae foreshore.
Volunteers from the McCrae Homestead Coastal Group have been documenting the destruction of Banksia and She-oak trees along 100 metres of the foreshore.
Spokesperson Jenny Wharfe said the group was devastated at the “despicable” act of vandalism, with some of the trees poisoned and others torn from the ground or limbs broken off.
“We have discovered significant and widespread evidence of tree vandalism, including drilling, poisoning, and breaking of branches and felling of mature She-Oaks and banksias adjacent to the Bay Trail in a particular section of the McCrae foreshore in which we regularly work as shire volunteers,” she said.
“Many trees are well on the way to being dead, whilst semi mature She-Oaks and about 12 Banksias two to four metres high seaward of the Bay Trail have had branches torn off, broken off at ground level or been pushed over.
“These particular trees are more easily seen from the beach, and when you view the damage from the beach between the Bay Trail and the beach, it seems to be done for a reason.”
Ms Smales said it was heartbreaking to see, after volunteers had spent more than 20 years revegetating the area with support and financial help from the council.
“We have written to the council, as it’s theft of money that has been spent of all this vegetation, so hopefully they get on to it,” she said.
“It’s such a selfish and shameless thing to do, it benefits nobody but the person doing it.”
Ms Wharfe said the group would like the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to erect signs, warning of the legal and financial ramifications of tree damage.
Apart of shire fines, offences for poison and damage to vegetation (trees) can attract a maximum fine of $198,000 under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 if found guilty in the Magistrates Court.
Penalties for wilful destruction or damage of public trees under the Summary Offences Act are up to $4,100 or six-months imprisonment if found guilty in the Magistrates Court.
Anyone with information is urged to report it to the shire and the McCrae Homestead Coastal Group on firstname.lastname@example.org
The shire was contacted for comment.