Trees poisoned for the view

TWO Newcastle harbour trees are suspected to have been poisoned in order to improve views for residents in the prestigious Breakwater Apartments.

The "environmental vandalism" drew a strong reaction from the Hunter Development Corporation yesterday, which said trees were continually being sabotaged on the harbourside strip.

The corporation said it would look at strategies of coastal councils before deciding how to respond.

The Newcastle Herald has reported that hundreds of trees are poisoned or chopped down each year with the intention of improving views and the issue is a growing problem for councils.

Councils have responded drastically in some cases, including blocking views with screens or shipping containers. Others have offered rewards for information, with a view to prosecution.

Numerous trees on the harbourfront, which is the responsibility of development corporation and not Newcastle City Council, have had to be replaced in recent years due to vandalism.

Newcastle City Council arborists, shown a picture of the ailing Tuckeroo trees, said it was believed they were poisoned.

Trees that die of natural causes typically shed leaves.

Corporation general manager Bob Hawes said it was "beyond belief that individuals feel they have a right to destroy public assets paid for by all taxpayers".

"It is also bewildering that the same trees planted outside the Crowne Plaza are unaffected while those at the eastern end of the promenade [in front of the Breakwater Apartments] continue to suffer attacks."

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