Millionaires in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay live under the cloud of suspicion after a mystery poisoned trees to improve waterfront views.
To wealthy residents of Hampton’s Beach Road – just south of Melbourne’s CBD – the stench of accusation is not unknown.
Signs warning of the costly consequences of the illegal felling of trees from the area have been standing along the busy strip leading to Sandringham for years.
Beyond the wilderness along Beach Road is a peaceful oasis where locals can walk their dogs and enjoy the million dollar views
Signs along the strip warn people not to destroy the trees
Houses along the desecrated land all have balconies that largely overlook the undergrowth. There is no suggestion that the despictede houses are responsible for the clearing
Beyond the bush is a tranquil view of Sandringham Harbor, with the You Yangs Mountains visible all the way across the bay.
Bayside Council, which has waged a long war with the vandals, has promised to bring them to justice for fear that their ecological destruction has gone a step too far.
Council spokesman Adam McSwain told Daily Mail Australia that the entire area is now in danger.
‘This site has been subject to continuous vegetation destruction over the years and now, due to the serious extent of this vandalism, the council is conducting soil testing to determine the type and origin of herbicide used to assist the council with ongoing investigations, ”he said via a statement.
The council, which presides over most of Melbourne’s wealthiest and most beautiful suburbs, maintains the bushland lining Beach Road which is vital habitat for small native birds and reptiles and helps stabilize cliffs in an area prone to erosion.
In places where trees have recently been poisoned, strategically large signs have been placed along the road.
Residents directly across from the kill zones are being warned daily that they will be fined $ 25,000 if caught participating in the vandalism.
On Tuesday, Daily Mail Australia spoke to several residents who lived in the houses.
Many had lived there for more than a decade.
Previously: An image from Google maps taken in 2019 shows a large tree at the back of the screen, close to the road
2021: The big tree at the back has disappeared
The You Yangs are clearly visible on the other side of the bay on clear days
“Why do you think we built so high?” said one resident, who wished to remain anonymous.
“We can see straight over the bush.”
His neighbors were all in this together, and some houses were three stories high with rooftop dining areas.
“Too bad,” said a neighbor, who also wanted to remain anonymous.
‘Some people build new houses here, and it is a nice facility to have trees. They provide shade. ‘
A man who came out of one of the newer houses seemed to have no idea what the controversy was about.
He hadn’t even noticed the signs outside his property, he claimed.
Residents agreed that the landscape across the street from their properties had changed dramatically over the years.
‘It has undergone changes. 12 years ago you had much better insights. You could actually see the yacht club, so it changes from year to year, ‘one man said.
“Trees are dying, there is new growth.”
The telltale signs of poison. Dozens of trees have been killed in recent times
Large houses across the road now have signs in front of the council warning their residents not to kill the vegetation
Another man down the street, who, like his neighbors, asked to remain nameless, said it was a shame that the view of the bay couldn’t be seen from the ground floor.
“Everyone should enjoy it,” he said.
The old resident said the council was doing everything it could to ensure that the bushland remained.
Mr. McSwain did not disagree.
“The destruction of this vegetation could lead to increased erosion effects on this site,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We will continue to monitor this area and re-growth will take place at a later date.’
Beyond the undergrowth, along a dirt road, Hampton residents point their fingers at houses and propose candidates for the vandalism.
“You should have seen what it used to look like here,” said a local.
The woman pointed to a lonely tree, blocking the view of a new house nearby.
That’s the next one to go. They should put up bigger plates. The size of a tree, ”she said.
Bayside Council’s War On Vandals
The Council is investigating recent cases of vandalism on the Hampton Bay test trail, which destroyed about 400 feet of vegetation, killing 26 trees.
The area is believed to have been poisoned with some type of herbicide for many months.
The trees have holes drilled in their trunk containing the poison that causes dieback – a kind of water form that grows (similar to fungus).
At the base of the trunks, several trees have been felled and branches pruned from the tops of trees.
Previous demolitions in this area date back to 2012.
The area is located in an area of sensitivity to Aboriginal cultural heritage.
Violations for poison and damage to vegetation in this area can result in a maximum fine of $ 198,000 under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 if found guilty by the Magistrates’ Court.
The council encourages anyone who may have witnessed tree damage to contact the Bayside City Council investigation team at 9599 4681.