Hindmarsh Shire Council staff have been notified that a number of trees are dying at the   Dimboola Skate Park.

Following council’s inspection of the trees and consultation with the supplier, it is believed that the trees may have been poisoned.

Mayor of Hindmarsh Shire Council, Cr Ron Ismay said, “council suspects deliberate poisoning of the trees, which is extremely disappointing. The trees were planted not only to provide future shade for the skate park, but also to enhance the environment.”

Vern Hallam from Wimmera Native Nursery had also inspected the trees on behalf of Council.

Damage to the leaf from the poison
Damage to the leaf from the poison

Mr Hallam told the Banner that the leaves of the lemon scented gum had a surfactant over them indicating they had been poisoned.

“You cannot be 100 percent sure without scientific testing but I am 98 percent confident that they have been poisoned,” said Mr Hallam.

“I believe some people may poison trees because they disagree with the choice of trees that are planted,” he said.

“I saw the same thing happen at the Horsham Golf Club because the Black Gums planted after the fires went through would block the view of the river for some houses near the golf club. People would poison them,” Mr Hallam said.

 

Mr Hallam said, “if this was caused by frost, only some of the leaves would die back. Some of the trees have all the leaves dead.”

Lemon Scented Gum trees died from poison
Lemon Scented Gum trees died from poison

Local Farmer Dennis Elliott said, “I don’t believe they were poisoned. I think they may have been affected by frost and weather. The wood is still green and with some pruning they will come back.”

Cliff Unger is a member of Hindmarsh Landcare Network and worked at the Wail Nursery for over 20 years.

Mr Unger said, “at first I thought they have been affected by the the frost and weather. On a closer look I am not so sure. It is possible that they have been poisoned.”

“I did warn Phil King that they need some protection from the weather or they may die,” he said.

“Vern Hallam has a lot more experience than I have. It is possible he is correct,” Mr Unger said.

“I suggest we get them protected from the weather and give them a few weeks and see if they bounce back.”

“The trees that have all the leaves dead, will not survive,” he said

This suspected vandalism has been reported to police.

The trees are valued at approximately $125 to $150 each or a total of  $1500.00.

“Council is investigating the purchase and installation of mobile covert cameras,” said Cr Ismay.

Cr. Ismay added. “the cameras would be set up at various locations, providing evidence to support prosecution of any suspected vandalism in the future.”

If you have any further information, please contact Wayne Schulze, Manager Operations on 035391 4444, mobile 0428 322 835 or by email wschulze@hindmarsh.vic.gov.au.

Council is currently developing a ‘Tree Strategy’.

Cr. Ismay said,“ community members are invited to provide their ideas for suitable tree species for nature strips, open spaces and council properties. We strive to keep our towns neat and tidy, to attract visitors to the area”.

For further information on the tree strategy, please contact Janette Fritsch, Manager of Strategic Assets and Planning.

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