The Ventilator

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Council spends $10K to punish naughty locals who felled trees

Matthew Chatfield
Latest posts by Matthew Chatfield (see all)

Well fancy that. The worm has turned in Port Stephens, Australia. Fed up with locals felling public trees to improve their sea views, the council has splashed out a substantial sum to erect two huge shipping containers right where the trees were, blocking the view.

Containers Copyright 2008 News Limited

Port Stephens Council Group Manager, Facilities and Services, Mike Trigar said:

This vandalism has been perpetrated by a very selfish individual or individuals who have shown no regard for the impact of their actions on the local community. Whilst we acknowledge that our decisive response will not please everybody, Council is determined to play a strong leadership role on this issue. I think local residents expect us to take firm action in this case. In recent times we have seen more and more of this type of behaviour and we are determined to eradicate it. I would warn anybody considering illegal destruction of trees that they can expect a similar response on the part of Council.

It’s not just a sudden angry response, either. There’s a council policy to address the issue. In 2005 Port Stephens council adopted a new policy to tackle environmental vandalism of this sort through the use of bright bunting, chain wire fences, signs and colourful, unattractive flags as punitive measures. It’s a radical approach and it would be interesting to know if it worked, as it seems that the ultimate sanction was still necessary in this case. The Ranger is aware of several similar situations on the Isle of Wight, where people sneak out and damage trees to improve their view. Often it’s blindingly obvious who has done it and why, but without evidence nothing can be done: and of course even with evidence the tree is still gone. Anyone accused of the crime can simply make up anything they like to excuse the action – as in this case, locals saidThey have no proof that a resident cut those trees. It could have been drunken idiots from somewhere else.” Well, sure it could. But nobody’s buying that in Port Stephens. You can just hear their teeth grinding. This courageous and forthright action brings a smile to The Ranger’s cynical old face. Let’s hope it has the desired effect. Well done Port Stephens Council!

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

One thought on “Council spends $10K to punish naughty locals who felled trees

  • Rupert Bear

    How about a 20′ high concrete wall for the IoW customers – could say it’s in the name of coastal sea defences. LoL.


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