I wonder if the fines are enough, assuming they find the people? I’ve heard that it’s cheaper or more profitable to just accept the fines.

Councils can issue a maximum on-the-spot fine of $3,000 for illegal tree removals by individuals, or $6,000 for businesses. Mr Wrightson said the council was getting legal advice about the best course of action, which could include seeking penalties of up to $1 million through a prosecution in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

300 tress x $6000 = $1.8million

That’s big if you chopped the trees for one house, but what if you chopped them for 10? Perhaps you would still get more than $180,000 extra each if they had better views?

  • @[email protected]
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    223 months ago

    “Really, we need to send the strongest possible message that this is going to be dealt with in the most firm action possible,” Mr Wrightson said.

    Maybe they could start by not calling it “vandalism”. Makes it sound like some drunkards smashed a few bottles against a tree or something. This must have been a criminal organization, planning and executing the destruction of a massive ecosystem and a public good, presumably with some benefit for them.

  • @[email protected]
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    173 months ago

    A max fine of $3000 -$6000 per tree! That’s tiny. Tree law in the US is brutal. If you illegally cut down a tree you owe the amount it would cost to have a tree of that type and size replanted there (those didn’t look like small trees). If the tree is too big to feasibly replant an equivalent one there then generally you owe $2000 per year that tree had been growing. So if you cut down someones 100 year old tree then you owe them $200,000. Although the exact numbers may be changed now because I haven’t had to look it up in a while.

    With something like this someone needs to be bankrupted over it. A couple million dollars to a big developer is nothing. With something like this they should literally have to pay to replace all of those trees with identical ones plus punitive fines. Also how did noone see who did it? That’s a pretty big landscaping effort for nobody to have seen anything. They also had to have taken the trees somewhere. There’s no way that nobody saw anything. No traffic cams saw trucks carting 300 trees out of the area?

    • sour
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      3 months ago

      things_america_did_right += 1

      • @[email protected]
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        43 months ago

        Yup. There’s a reason that “forensic arborist” is an actual job title. Trees are worth way more than most people think.

        My dad was a groundskeeper at a smallish local college that is somewhat known for its fairly large and diverse collection of trees. Nothing really exotic, just a wide variety of fairly normal trees that grow well in our climate. At one point a big landscaping company convinced someone on the college admin team to switch pesticides to their newer “green” pesticide. Well they went and treated a bunch of trees with this new pesticide and it wound up killing quite a few of the trees (probably not more than 20-25). The college wound up being awarded several $million in damages. US tree law is no joke.

    • @bestusername
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      103 months ago

      Increase the fines… And build a 15m concrete wall as punishment.

      • @hacknsplat
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        173 months ago

        More aesthetic answer… seize their house as “proceeds of crime”, bulldoze it and make a public park in it’s place.

        • Pot8oB
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          43 months ago

          Yes, and have them replant both areas by hand. We’ll maybe they could have a spade.

    • @quicken
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      63 months ago

      Median price in Lane Cove is $3,135,000 for houses.

  • @bestusername
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    123 months ago

    I don’t understand; why do this? If someone gains a “better” view, then isn’t it blindingly obvious who cut them down?

    • @WaterWaiverOP
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      103 months ago

      That’s probably not enough to hold up in court. They could be getting framed by a competitor builder. The trees might have been accidentally cut (eg a contractor misinterpreting the location). All sorts of things.

      • @bestusername
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        3 months ago

        You don’t accidentally chop down 300 trees in the middle of the night, let alone without a single person seeing or hearing a thing.

      • @TassieTosser
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        53 months ago

        Sue them all and let God sort them out.

    • @[email protected]
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      33 months ago

      I don’t know much about Aussie evidentiary standards but in murrican, that argument alone wouldn’t get you beyond reasonable doubt

  • @kowcop
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    33 months ago

    pisspoor fines… just the cost of doing business. So their multi-million dollar property now has better multi million dollar views. House should be turned into rubble and converted into a park