Hunters Hill resident Gary Johnston has been fined $40,000 under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for cutting down 4 protected Hoop Pines. The trees were 40 years old and between 20 and 22 meters tall. Each had a canopy spread of between 7 and 9 meters.
The trees were protected throughout construction of the Defendant’s two storey house which has been built over 3 levels and includes a basement car park for 9 vehicles, swimming pool and spa. A wonderfully intact Arts and Crafts building was demolished to make way for this new building. A condition of the development consent was that these 4 Hoop Pine trees be retained to provide screening for the new development from the water. The property is within a Foreshore Scenic Protection Area.
A neighbour saw that the trees were being cut down and immediately contacted Council. Ahmad Bahwach, owner of “Always The Best Tree Lopping” had cut down the trees without checking for Council approval.
Click here to read the full judgment.