Council investigates complaints over land clearing
ALLEGED illegal land clearing at Tuan is being investigated by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
"The council received a complaint from a local resident about potential illegal vegetation clearing at Tuan extending across a private property, council controlled reserve and into a foreshore area under native title," Acting Mayor Darren Everard said.
"Council compliance officers conducted an onsite inspection, issued a stop work order and are collecting evidence and taking witness statements.
"We are also liaising with state and national agencies, as well as the local Butchulla people, as the area cleared is both environmentally and culturally sensitive.
"It's vitally important that anyone planning to undertake any vegetation clearing carries out all the relevant checks to ensure they are meeting their legislative requirements and avoiding unnecessary environmental damage."
Cr Everard said Council Open Space and Environment staff were also on site this week in an attempt to save some of the damaged vegetation and rehabilitate the area, which adjoins a highly protected marine environment.
"The area affected covers more than 7800 square metres extending from private property across the council reserve and into the foreshore area near the Esplanade at Tuan," he said.
"While we are still in the early stages of an investigation, the council takes this issue very seriously and this could be the subject of a prosecution."
The alleged illegal clearing at Tuan follows a recent Council decision to install temporary fencing and educational signage on Mant Street at Point Vernon to raise community awareness about illegal vegetation damage in the area.
Separately, the council is investigating another complaint about clearing at Burrum Heads.
"The cost of assessing environmental vandalism, and restoring and protecting damaged sites, is ultimately carried by the entire community," Cr Everard said.
"If members of the public have any information about vegetation damage that is potentially illegal, they can report it confidentially to Council on 1300 79 49 29."