After regularly visiting her parent's graves in Mollymook for many years, Lesley Oliver was shocked to discover several trees at Sandridge Cemetery had been removed recently.
Lesley travelled from Yass on January 19 - what would have been her mother's birthday - and found a number of mature trees had been cut down near her parent's grave in the Catholic section.
She said the discovery brought her to tears.
"I go up there and sit and it was so peaceful. It was once the South Coast's most well-kept and beautiful cemetery but sadly no more," she said.
"This area is now stark and unattractive, no longer a place of serenity. The character of the cemetery has changed forever."
Lesley said she contact Shoalhaven Council, who completed the work, and said she was told the trees were removed as members of the community had raised concerns about cracking in some graves.
A spokesperson from Shoalhaven Council said staff worked directly with families whose loved ones graves were being affected.
"Council's Bereavement Services endeavours to provide tranquil settings in cemeteries across the Shoalhaven for members of the community to reflect and honour the memory of their loved ones," a spokesperson said.
"Where possible trees are maintained as part the cemetery landscape, however Council must also have regard to public safety from aging trees and any disturbance caused by trees into areas where monuments have been erected over time since trees were planted."
Lesley said if the trees didn't pose a safety issue, she can't understand why they were removed.
"Nothing lasts forever and who cares about a few cracks in a grave? Surely the beauty and amenity of these trees should have been a priority?," she said.
"Why did the council permit a minority to have their way and remove the trees? Why didn't council stand up for those who visit the cemetery?
"I'm sure there are many others who share my pain. Look around Mollymook and note the absence of trees, we need more trees and we need to ignore people who want them removed. It's about time the Council took a stand and put a value on trees."