Battle of the banksias at Collingwood Beach

A Vincentia resident wants the banksias removed from the dunes on Collingwood Beach.

Lance Sewell believes the trees do nothing to prevent the dune system from washing away in the event of a storm, and obstruct the views of the stunning bay from residents and visitors who use the seaside path. 

Banksias near his home have been poisoned, and council responded by erecting signs, threatening vandals with huge fines.

Some community members recently hit back at council, sticking a note on the sign declaring Shoalhaven Council is the vandal for planting the trees in the first place.

The sign advised banksias were not native to the area, and were planted by the Shoalhaven Council.

Mr Sewell agreed with what was written on the note.

“I think Jervis Bay is one of the most beautiful, pristine bays in the world,” he said.

“The path has been put here so that people can look at the bay, the views should be available for all.”

Mr Sewell said he has never poisoned a tree, but he can understand why they were poisoned.

“I think it’s so ugly,” he said.

“We’re looking for a compromise, it really is a big problem here.”

Mr Sewell believes council has misled the public.

Council advised locals that it would plant low-growing shrubs that would not obstruct people’s views, and later planted banksias which grow to 15m and spread 6m wide.

“The staff are Greens,” he said.

“Their agenda is that trees shouldn’t be destroyed.”

From his ocean front home, he can see the sea, just a small section of his view is blocked by three banksias, two of which are poisoned.

He said other residents are much worse off, one he knows of burst into tears recently because when they had bought the home six years ago they could see the sand, and now their view has become completely surrounded by banksias. 

Council has been toying with a solution for five years, but has not come to an agreement, with differing views coming forward on vegetation from the community.