As the cooler weather brings chainsaws out of sheds, and firewood collection be- comes high on the agenda for many families, Forbes residents are being reminded that the removal of trees from council land without permission is illegal.
“We were shocked to see the amount of damage in the Wildlife Reserve area at Gum Swamp,” say Forbes Shire Council Mayor, Phyllis Miller OAM. “Countless trees have been felled recently and some are even close to the water’s edge.”
“This whole area is a protected wildlife reserve and we cannot and will not allow this to happen. Some of the recent State Government funding received by the Forbes Art Society has been allocated to this area for the construction of new bird hides and improving the existing bird hide. People travel from all over Australia to admire our amazing diversity of birds who occupy this region and we cannot afford to have this prized habitat destroyed.”
Council rangers will be patrolling the area regularly with on the spot fines of $3000 issued to those caught cutting and collecting timber from the area. If Council deems it necessary court-imposed fines of up to $500,000 can occur.
“It disappoints us greatly that people would disrespect this beautiful wildlife refuge,” says local resident and Forbes Art Society project manager, Kim Muffet. “Taking timber from this area is criminal given it provides habitat for so many species of birds.”
Illegally acquired firewood has already been seized and donated to the Men’s Shed for fundraising.