MORE than 1.8 hectares of native and threatened species vegetation has been cleared from a Wardell property, forcing Ballina Shire Council to pursue legal action.
The council voted to take the matter to court after it was revealed the majority of an endangered ecological community of Coastal Cypress had been cleared.
A small section of Swamp Sclerophyll, also an endangered ecological community, was also removed.
In total, one-third of the property's native vegetation was cleared - all of it classified as "high conservation significance".
It was also habitat for the threatened Wallum Froglet and koalas.
Officers from the council inspected the Pimlico Rd property in September last year, and discovered the landowner had cleared vegetation, undertaken excavation works for a dam and waste disposal system, installed water tanks, created roads and tracks, and stockpiled waste materials, including concrete rubble and metals.
The council said the landowner did not have approval for any of the works.
After being issued with a Show Cause notice, the landowner told the council he planned to plant an orchard of finger limes and plums, and small crops of garlic and ginger.
He said he removed some native vegetation for "fencing and fire protection", and told the council he "wished to beautify the area".
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