Tree loss risks Kiama beach homes

A Kiama Downs resident believes attacks on trees at Cathedral Rocks Reserve may worsen under an apparent shift in council policy.

Trees in the reserve at the south end of Jones Beach have been poisoned and hacked, including a 30-year-old Norfolk pine.

Kiama Downs resident Jim Bradley, who has been involved in the rehabilitation of the southern end of Jones Beach reserve for 40 years, has been critical of Kiama council's response to the ongoing tree attacks.

While neighbouring Shoalhaven City Council reacted by installing a banner at the site of tree attacks on the Jervis Bay foreshore, Mr Bradley describes Kiama council's response as "underwhelming" and fears some proposals put forward as part of a review of plans of management for Jones Beach and Cathedral Rocks Reserves will make problems worse.

In 2012, Kiama council successfully prosecuted one Kiama Downs man, who had to pay $27,000 after the Land and Environment Court found him guilty of "injuring a tree" in Cathedral Rocks Reserve, which later died.

"Most of Kiama Downs's residents have come to live here inside the past 30 years and would have little or no knowledge of past ocean incursions into the lower regions of the beachside estate," Mr Bradley said.

"The great storm of 1955 saw an ocean surge up to the base of the rise where Kiarama Avenue is today, far greater than the 1974 storm that swamped some homes along North Kiama Drive.

"The dune rehabilitation work undertaken by council back in the '90s is the only barrier helping to mitigate against future large east coast low events."

Mr Bradley said the revision of the plans came in "a climate of change" among the elected council.

In October, councillors voted against two staff recommendations to keep a Norfolk pine in Pheasant Point Drive and a fig tree in Bong Bong Street, Kiama, marking a shift away from the council's strict stance on tree removal.

Mr Bradley said a suggested option to replace any tree that was killed with an "appropriate tree", was code for "low" or "no" tree and would have far reaching consequences, not only for the reserves in question but reserves throughout Kiama.

New draft plans of management for Jones Beach and Cathedral Rocks Reserves will go on public exhibition in 2014.

The plans will be discussed at Kiama Downs surf club at 5.30pm on Wednesday.

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