Mayor's clever trick to stop people cutting down trees for water view

It’s a long-time Sydney underbelly thing. With the city perched on the rises and drops of sandstone and guttered by harbour and sea, it offers a rich topography that presents vistas from all angles.

And if a few trees grow and get in the way, it’s time for a midnight visit with a gurgling Husqvarna or handsaw, or a handheld drill and a drum of poison. Problem solved. Vista returned.

And so it was, again, that a certain swatch of shrubbery struggled to survive on the shores of Brighton Le Sands, on the banks of Botany Bay. It would not be the sandy soil; nor blight or borer. The pest here is terminal chainsaw, which a few weeks back carved a new vista through beachfront bush.

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© 9News On the shores of Brighton Le Sands, on the banks of Botany Bay trees and shrubbery keep disappearing, thanks to residents desperate for a view of the sea.

“We thought, how can we possibly send a strong message to the vandals,” says Bayside Council mayor Joe Awada, “and I thought, enough is enough, we can’t keep tolerating this.”

So after this latest planting of mature banksia was brought down, Bayside Council decides to replace them with modern ironbark; two and a half shipping containers bumped in beachside, to obscure the blight, and the view for which the bush was brutalised.

“If they’re trying to achieve a view, then they haven’t achieved what they were aiming for,” says Mayor Awada, “and I think it’s a first in Sydney.”

“Geez boss,” I say, “you play for keeps”.”

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© 9News Bayside Council mayor Joe Awada in front of one of the shipping containers.

I tell you what;” the boss says, “people love it.” And they do.

“We’re so delighted to see the council actively deal with the situation,” says one.

“What type of monster would just cut down a bunch of trees, for a view of the water?” from another.

“I think it’s pretty good; it’s a nice mural too,” concludes a third.

It seems there’s little resistance to proffering the neighbourhood arboreal Edward Scissorhands can now gaze upon the yellow-tailed black cockatoo mural strapped across the containers’ façade for a goodly while.

“These containers will stay for at least two years; we’ve got newly planted trees behind the containers,” says Joe Awada, “and we want to give them time to mature.”

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