A West Launceston resident has labelled the cutting down of melaleuca trees as “appalling” and “vandalism”.
Dr Gareth Koch said the trees on a nature strip on the lower side of Hill Street have been reduced to stumps and a few branches.
“The trees are decades old, were in full bloom with hundreds of bees,” Dr Koch said.
“It's an appalling time to prune, notwithstanding that this was no pruning, rather an act of demolition.”
Also known as paperbarks, honey-myrtles or tea-trees, melaleucas range in size from small shrubs that rarely grow to more than one-metre high, to trees up to 35 metres.
“The broader issue is the vandalisation of a natural resource on public land,” Dr Koch said.
“You wouldn’t walk onto public land and destroy a structure created for the public.
“Apart from being unlawful, the act was carried out for the basest of motives and highlights the prioritisation of selfishness over environmental, aesthetic and community concerns.”
The City of Launceston Council general manager Michael Stretton said the council was investigating damage to two melaleuca trees on public land in West Launceston over the weekend.
“The pruning, removal, or vandalism of trees on public land or reserves without appropriate approvals can draw heavy penalties and court action,” he said.
“The City of Launceston takes such matters extremely seriously.”
Mr Stretton said the council will consider action pursuant to its by-laws.