A fence with signage could be on the Esplanade for two years
A fence with signage could be on the Esplanade for two years

View-blocking foreshore fence here for two years

A VIEW-BLOCKING foreshore fence and ‘educational’ banner now surround tree lines at Point Vernon.

This is after a spate of tree poisoning in the area which peaked with a decision from the council to put up the controversial fence with signage at the bottom of Mant St.

Councillors were divided with a 6-5 vote in favour in August.

The fence lines sit on both sides of the Esplanade at Gataker’s Bay.

The debate followed community consultation where 450 people shared their thoughts on what the council should do about the illegal destruction of trees in the area.

The results showed 90 per cent of respondents were ‘somewhat concerned’ to ‘really concerned’ about incidents of illegal vegetation damage on the foreshore.

A total of 55 per cent of respondents believed the Mant St area should be rehabilitated while

56 per cent (248 respondents) supported draping mesh panels printed with information on the temporary fencing.

The council has since gone ahead with the latter plan and says the fences will limit access to the sites, especially when there is a “danger from falling branches and they will protect seedlings planted to revegetate the sites”.

Fraser Coast Regional Councillor David Lewis said independent soil analysis of the sites found traces of a residual herbicide and the fence would help ensure public safety while the area was rehabilitated.

“The poison is continuing to kill vegetation on the sites,” he said

“It is intended that the fence will remain until new trees we plant on the site reach the height of the fence. That should take about two years.

“An educational banner has been attached to the fence to raise awareness within the broader community about illegal tree destruction on council reserves.

“It is estimated that the rehabilitation of the area will cost at least $40,000. That includes soil testing, replanting and establishing the new trees.”

On the beachside of the Esplanade, the fence surrounds a 25-metre strip of foreshore where the vegetation has been gradually getting “thinner and thinner”.

“We’re pretty sure these are targeted attacks because soil analysis found traces of herbicide and even the replanted trees were destroyed,” Cr David Lewis said.

The fences are the latest council response to the destruction of trees at a number of sites along the Hervey Bay Esplanade.

“Unfortunately there is a history of vegetation damage along the Hervey Bay foreshore where trees have been cut down or poisoned,” Cr Lewis said.

“We hope the education material on the fence will draw attention to the vandalism of trees and vegetation on council reserves.”