17 October 2018
Bega Valley Shire Council has successfully prosecuted a Pambula Beach resident in the Land and Environment Court of NSW for unlawful clearing, destruction and poisoning of vegetation in Jiguma Reserve in 2016.
Council Compliance Officers sought to prosecute the resident through the Land and Environment Court of NSW due to the high value vegetation and sensitive coastal location that exists in the Reserve.
The Pambula Beach resident entered a plea of guilty and was ordered to pay a fine, compensation and costs in excess of $20,000.
Council’s Community Safety and Compliance Coordinator, Chris Pearson, said Jiguma Reserve is a valuable asset within the community, and is a significant part of the Shire’s wilderness coast.
“The value of the vegetation in this area is considerable, housing habitat and endangered flora, providing coastal protection from the elements and forms important corridors for wildlife,” Mr Pearson said.
“Council takes a zero-tolerance approach to the wilful and reckless damage of vegetation and is currently investigating other sites where similar destruction and clearing has occurred.
“Council uses surveillance cameras and other techniques to assist in gathering information for prosecution and usually most offenders are unaware that they are being observed.
“The community are very helpful when we are investigating these types of incidents and we encourage anyone who sees another person causing damage to vegetation or notices dramatic changes to vegetation, including trees dying suddenly or the cutting, breaking or removal of vegetation from our Reserves to report it to Council immediately,” Mr Pearson said.
Prosecution of these offences in the Land and Environment Court of NSW carry fines of up to $500,000 plus restitution costs to rehabilitate the damage.
Please report any suspicious activity to Council on 6499 2222.
Photograph: There have been a number of cases of unlawful clearing and environmental destruction across the Shire in recent years.