Landmark Norfolk Pines being deliberately poisoned at Scotts Head

Although not indigenous to our coastline, the Norfolk Island Pines that crest the ridge above Little Beach at Scotts Head have called that town home for longer than most people living there.

"I'd estimate that stand of trees is anywhere from 50 to 80 years old," Council's Greenspace Coordinator Tim Woodward said.

"These conifers are significant to the local Indigenous community, and they're also a marker for deep sea fishermen - they're used as a landmark to find their way home."

The evergreens are losing their needles

The evergreens are losing their needles

So Tim was left with "a foul taste" in his mouth yesterday when his team discovered someone had been deliberately attacking the trees.

"I looked up into the canopy of one of the larger pines and noticed the needles were all starting to discolour, as I walked around to the other side of the trunk I could see three noticeable tomahawk marks with sap oozing from them - a good indication that poison had been poured into the cuts." he said.

I just can't understand the conscience of someone who could kill a 70-year-old tree like that. It's a crime, a true crime.

And it's not just the pines that have been lacerated.

"In total there are around 30 mature trees, including 30-year-old tuckeroos and banksias, that have been drilled and killed along that 70-metre-long strip of land," Tim said.

"And all the understory has gone too - all the little native saplings have been decimated.

"There's now not one piece of vegetation left behind Little Beach."

The trees that remain are all on their deathbeds

The trees that remain are all on their deathbeds

The damage to other trees in the area was noted earlier this year by the Scotts Head Community Group and local Dune Care and Bush Regeneration groups.

"Since February Dune Care has been trying to replant all that has been poisoned on the banks," Scotts Head Community Group president Emma Gentle said.

"But the Scotts Head community was devastated to learn yesterday that trees are also being poisoned behind Little Beach - at least three Norfolk Pines behind Little Beach and more between the Chinaman's and Youth Track at Forsters.

Today we've also heard that sheoaks have been poisoned and cut down near Wakki Beach. It's like an epidemic.

"Bush Regen are at their wits' end. In the last year Scotts Head has lost many trees that have provided wildlife habitat for decades, including for the rock wallabies that used to delight the residents and visitors alike only 18 months ago, and have now become a rare sighting.

"So there's definitely consequences already being noticed."

She said locals have expressed their concern that "this is a clear indication of what's to come" for the sleepy seaside village.

"If we clear all the vegetation, it will become like every other densely-populated coastal town, stripped of the natural beauty that draws people here," she said.

If Scotts Head loses its uniqueness, we'll be shooting ourselves in the foot.

Tim Woodward said the tree vandalism problem was not just isolated to the town of Scotts Head.

"We've had recent problems in Valla Beach and Nambucca too," he said.

Unfortunately, the land where the trees are being vandalised in Scotts Head is classified Crown Land, so all Tim is able to do is report the issue to the caretaker, which happens to be the manager of the Scotts Head Reflections Caravan Park.

Operations Manager for Reflections Holiday Parks Mid North Coast Mark Martin said he'd been alerted to the pine problem last night.

"I can't comment further until we receive a report from an independent review, but we will be conducting a thorough investigation, using all the resources available to us," he said.

"We'll be looking to engage tree experts and seeking recommendations from all community stakeholders."

He said he sees this is an issue of concern for the community which requires a whole-of-community consultation, in order to find a solution.

Mr Martin was unable to put a timeframe on the process before an outcome was reached, but said they'd "certainly expedite this" as fast as they can.

"Reflections Holiday Parks are committed to regenerating the natural environment, and Scotts Head is certainly a jewel in the crown of the coastal environments we manage," he said.

I can't believe that someone would want to do this. It's extremely disappointing.

Also in the news