Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has vowed to find those responsible for poisoning at least 10 Norfolk Island Pine trees in Towradgi Park late Sunday night and has called for anyone with information to come forward and help NSW Police find those responsible.
The latest attack comes after two other pine trees were destroyed at the same location a week ago.
Cr Bradbery said the trees are not expected to survive. Council staff found them on Monday morning. He said there was little hope for the trees along the cycleway between Corrimal Surf Club and the Towradgi playground. Each had been drilled into and filled with poison and was cut down with a chainsaw.
"It is very disheartening and sickening. The trees were so distant from properties I can't figure out an excuse. When someone decides to selfishly destroy a tree, whether that's for a better view, to steal a plant or to just cause damage to public property, this decision impacts everyone else," he said.
Cr Bradbery said the council will be planting new trees to replace those destroyed. He said the trees were around 10 years old so it will take a while before new ones grow to the same size.
"It is impossible to put cameras in every section of the city. But that area will now come under greater surveillance. And I think the community will assist us with anything else that goes on there."
Nearby resident Cr Mithra Cox said everyone she spoke to on Monday was upset.
"A lot of people have been watching those trees grow for years and commented that last summer for the first time there was a little patch of shade to sit under. They had just taken away the protectors at the base of trees. To see that destruction just as they started to become mature trees is just so sad. I think we have no other choice that to put some big ugly signs up there. So if this is about views then we need to do something that is going to stand in the way of those views until the new trees have time to grow. What has happened impacts on the whole community. It punishes everybody just because of the greedy actions of a few."
Cr Cox said the fines were significant for destruction on such a scale and if anyone has any information that leads to a prosecution, that would send out the message that such vandalism is not okay and will not be tolerated by the community.
"One of those trees was cut with a chainsaw so it would have been loud. It is quite possible someone has heard or seen something," she said.