POISONED trees along the Esplanade may have shocked some residents, but Bev and Geoff Cornwell have seen it all before.
The Point Vernon residents said tree vandalism, including poisoning, destruction and removal of trees along the iconic Hervey Bay strip, has been going on since the 1980s.
But Mr Cornwell has seen worse over his career as a parks and wildlife worker on the Hervey Bay council.
"There was a poisoning incident during the 1980s where about 200m of land was poisoned to kill the trees," Mr Cornwell said.
"Being on the parks and gardens section of council we planted thousands of those trees.
"To see the poisoning still going on is very sad, we grew all those trees from seedlings.
"It's just shocking."
Since last week's incident, the council has announced it will strengthen its tree destruction policy with new signage and shadecloth.
Mr and Mrs Cornwell said the council needed to make an example of people who vandalise the trees.
"We want to see the council hit them hard, in their back pockets," Mr Cornwell said.
"It's very unique to have a tree buffer zone nearly the full-length of the Bay, other cities like the Gold Coast don't have that."