By ANEEKA SIMONIS
A BERWICK resident has been ordered to pay several thousand dollars in penalties after illegally removing a number of trees from their property last year.
The City of Casey successfully prosecuted the resident for illegally removing and destroying four Italian cypress trees and a Peppercorn tree from a property in mid-2014.
According to council, a planning permit was issued for works to be undertaken at the property.
A council endorsed landscape plan of the permit specified a number of trees that were not to be removed.
Five trees which were required to be retained were illegally removed and, as a result, the resident was charged for failing to comply with the planning permit and council’s planning scheme.
At Dandenong Magistrates’ Court, the resident pleaded guilty to the charges and was ordered to pay $3000, along with paying $3000 worth of costs to council.
City of Casey Mayor Cr Mick Morland said this served as a timely reminder to residents to ensure they adhered to all conditions of a planning permit to avoid facing prosecution and substantial fines.
“Council takes breaches of planning requirements very seriously, as we have a strong commitment to protecting and improving Casey’s natural environment,” he said.
“It is important to contact council before removing, lopping or pruning trees and vegetation to check whether a planning permit is required and if so, ensure you adhere to all requirements of the permit.
“Illegal vegetation removal will not be tolerated in Casey and council will take enforcement action when there is a clear breach of the planning regulations and planning permit conditions.”