Sydney, Australia (August 24, 2009)- Whoever poisoned two large gum trees in the Sydney inner-city suburb of Alexandria is facing a million dollar fine, the mayor said today. “This deliberate poisoning which killed two strong and healthy trees, both about 15 metres (49 feet) tall, is both irresponsible and distressing,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP. “This act is a serious criminal offence,” she said, “and those caught and convicted face fines of up to a million dollars.”
The City of Sydney Tree Preservation Order ensures that trees are protected and managed appropriately. Under this order, any person found to have wilfully damaged or destroyed a tree without permission is guilty of an offense. Fines for such an offense are up to $1,100,000.
The mature Flooded gum, Eucalyptus grandis, and mature Tallow wood, Eucalyptus microcorys, were the only street trees located on the northern side of Huntley Street between Lawrence Street and Euston Lane, in Alexandria. Both trees were regularly maintained by the city and were flourishing before suddenly declining in health in early July.
Lab testing for the presence of herbicides confirmed both trees had been poisoned. Signs have been placed on each of the poisoned trees, and letters delivered to residents to ensure the community is aware of the poisoning, seeking information about the attack and to act as a warning.
City staff are continuing their investigations to identify suspects, and are asking anyone with information to contact the city on 9265 9333. The city will remove the dead trees and replace them with three advanced sized Wallangarra White Gum, Eucalyptus scoparia, trees.
“Street trees provide many benefits to the local community and the wider environment, shading us from the hot summer sun and providing a habitat for local birds and animals.” said Mayor Moore. “They also help make our neighborhoods attractive and desirable places to live and work.”
Flooded gums can grow very large. In fact, the tallest tree in New South Wales is a 76 metre tall, 400 year old flooded gum nicknamed The Grandis. It can be found in the Bulahdelah State Forest. The Tallow wood tree that was poisoned represents another towering species. This native Eucalypt species, common in New South Wales and Queensland, grows to heights of 40 metres (247 feet) and occasionally taller.
Sydney Threatens to Fine Tree-Killers One Million Dollars