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This pandanus tree is affected by pandanus planthoppers, says Clarence Valley Council, and is not related to the two pandanus trees allegedly poisoned at South Head Park. Image: Geoff Helisma

Trees allegedly poisoned: resultant views to be maintained

Geoff Helisma |

At next Tuesday’s Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting (June 26), councillors will decided upon what action to take in response to the alleged poisoning of trees along Yamba’s beach frontage, supposedly to enhance ocean views from adjacent properties.

At last week’s Corporate, Governance & Works Committee, councillors rejected CVC staff’s recommendation, to erect “1.8m long by 0.8m high signs in Pippi Beach Reserve and South Head Park, Yamba in the place of the alleged poisoned trees, removing the signage once the trees and shrubs have regrown”.

Instead, the committee recommended to the full meeting of council: “Preserve the view by planting and maintaining vegetation between the view corridors with species that do not exceed the view corridor heights.”
A council spokesperson has confirmed that the trees were alleged to have been poisoned by observing dead grass around the trunk of some of the trees, as indicated in the report to council.

The spokesperson also confirmed that there had not been any analysis of the trees to ascertain what was used to allegedly poison them.

Councillors also recommended, as per the council officer’s recommendation, to “replant the area with tree and shrub seedlings from the community nursery” and to “write to surrounding property owners to advise of alleged poisoning, outlining the penalties of the offence and seek support to report any future instances”.

The council offers rewards of up to $2,000 for information that leads to conviction of people who have poisoned or damaged trees.

The Independent noticed a pandanus tree had died at the foot of the steps adjacent to the Main Beach rock pool, and enquired to see if its death was related to the two pandanus trees allegedly poisoned at South Head Park.

The council responded with the following statement: “The tree at Main Beach is in decline and has been for a number of years.
“Its symptoms are different from those at Convent [South Head Park].
“The one at Main Beach might have pandanus dieback but further investigation would be required to find any pandanus planthoppers (see http://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/PandanusDieback).”
“Planthopper induced dieback is caused by extremely heavy infestations of planthoppers sucking the plant’s sap from the leaf sheaths,” according to the Tweed Shire Council’s website.
The entry also noted that “most trees with light to moderate planthopper infestations showed signs of recovery and harboured no visible live planthoppers, these trees developed strong vegetative regrowth by 12 months post treatment”.

However, heavily infested trees did not recover.

The Independent asked CVC why it had not treated the pandanus tree that had been “in decline for a number of years” for planthopper infestation, however, a response was not received before the paper’s print deadline.

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