CONTRACTORS constructing the new facilities in Wharf Park, Murwillumbah arrived at work on Friday to discover evidence of a theft.
Overnight, thieves made off with a variety of plants from the fenced site which had been planted the day before.
The plants stolen include five large Lillypillies used to screen the levee wall, five feature Zamias and three Lepidozamia in 300mm pots.
Also stolen was some equipment belonging to the contractor including hoses and bins.
The stolen plants have a value of about $350.
Tweed Shire Council Landscape Architect Ian Bentley said the thieves had targeted certain plants.
"They obviously knew what they were doing as they took plants which had significant value and left others behind," he said.
"This is starting to become a real problem around Murwillumbah with plants also being removed from Knox Park and Budd Park recently.
"These beautification projects are for the benefit of the community as a whole and we simply don't have the resources to be continually replacing plants which people are just going to help themselves to.
"It would be a real shame if this were to continue and we were forced into a situation where future landscaping designs weren't able to incorporate these sort of elements."
The upgrade to Wharf Park, once the location of the busy Murwillumbah Wharf, includes the construction of a new toilet block, seating areas and other amenities.
The space is also designed to be socially equitable by installing wheelchair accessible tables and drinking fountains along concrete pathways that will lead to the new toilet block.
The project is due for completion within the next week.