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Killer views: Gold Coast fury as historic palms destroyed by 'criminals'


The Gold Coast is considering installing covert security cameras to tackle a new crime outbreak that is threatening to throw shade on the reputation of one of the city’s most exclusive and sought-after coastal pockets.

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Vandals have hacked down a magnificent 30-year-old Pandanus tree along the foreshore at Burleigh Heads amid an ugly ongoing dispute over the planting of 100 shade trees in and around the well-heeled beachfront village.

The large pandanus, destroyed Thursday, is the latest casualty in the tree war that has also seen around 40 trees broken, removed or poisoned just up the road at Miami.

So fierce is opposition to the trees, and how they may obstruct some residents’ multi-million dollar views, that local councillor Pauline Young has also resorted to carrying an emergency alarm following repeated threats.

“Whoever is doing this has no moral compass and does not care about our city,” Young said.

Gold Coast councillor Pauline Young with one of the badly damaged trees. (Photo: Supplied)

“These acts are criminal and I will continue to work with police to try to see the offenders prosecuted.”

Trees being poisoned or vandalised in a grab for better beach views is not a problem only rooted in the Gold Coast, but councillors are calling the current attacks among the worst cases of tree vandalism they have seen.

The issue centres on Burleigh which is currently at the forefront of the Gold Coast’s booming property market where beachside houses and units continue to set new multi-million price records.

The suburb is in such high demand from investors and interstate migrants seeking a slice of the idyllic, picture-perfect lifestyle Burleigh offers, that new properties being listed for sale are recording an average of 1,781 visits per listed property.

Last weekend, around 600 people crowded to the auction of a Burleigh Heads two-storey four-bedroom home that ultimately sold for $3.75 million.

Young said she would persist with planting trees, despite threats and complaints.

“To see trees snapped off, poisoned and removed is a poor reflection on these vandals,” she said.

“A very small minority of locals have objected. Some have been absolutely vitriolic in their behaviour and I have documented all those incidents.

“There’s been quite a few residents who have sent in letters of complaint saying that we’re impacting their amenity, but what I’ve tried to explain is the view is owned by everybody.”

A replacement pandanus will be planted in Burleigh at a cost of around $10,000.

Young said if the vandalism didn’t stop, council would consider branching out into alternative view-blocking shade solutions.

“I planted around 100 trees to improve shade. If this vandalism continues, we may have to install hard-stand man-made structures such as overlapping shade sails and shade huts.”


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