Latrobe City Council attached this sign on this tree recently.  Photo by Trace Finch with many thanks :-)

Latrobe City Council in Victoria attached this sign on this poor vandalised tree recently.                                            Photo by Trace Finch with many thanks 🙂

I was sent photos of a tree that had been vandalised in Victoria & later, a sign attached to the tree by Latrobe City Council.  The sign reads –

“This tree has been severely vandalized.   Trees are significant & valuable assets & belong to the whole community.   Every incident of tree vandalism is a direct cost to ratepayers.”   It then invites people who may have information to contact the Council.

I love this sign, especially the acknowledgement that public trees belong to the whole community, not just to the person whose house the tree is outside of or the street it is growing in.   I think an enormous percentage of the community incorrectly think that the street tree outside is theirs to do what they like with.

I visited the website of Latrobe City Council & found that they also write up incidents of tree vandalism.  Here is one from October 2012.  The use of ‘bold’ is my emphasis.

“Trees replaced in Church Street, Morwell.

Latrobe City Council’s manager infrastructure operations, Jody O’Kane, said that the trees were damaged late last week.

“The young trees were broken off in a deliberate attack. Officers from the depot replaced the vandalised trees with new trees & the streetscape looks as it should again.

“We appreciate residents reporting incidents of vandalism of Council assets.

Pride in the community is important & the vast majority of citizens respect their environment & feel aggrieved when damage is deliberately inflicted.

We do respond to reports of vandalism in as short a time frame as possible & will continue to maintain the street trees in our community,” Mr O’Kane concluded.”

Latrobe City Council’s approach is one that educates the community that tree vandalism is not acceptable & also is about changing the culture to one that respects trees.  If any Council ignores the vandalism incident & rewards by removing the tree, then others in the community know that this is how they can have a street tree removed too.