Cost at stake in fence woe

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Geoff VivianMidwest Times

A Port Denison resident said she has been left out of pocket for having to prove a neighbour built a boundary wall encroaching on the driveway of her Bartlett Place property.

At public question time before last week’s Irwin Shire Council meeting, Tracy Barker complained about the difficulty she and her family had had bringing the matter to the Shire’s attention and getting the offending wall removed.

She quoted a local law relating to fencing that prescribed a $5000 on-the-spot fine for a breach and up to $500 each day until the problem was rectified.

“It took six months to get council to issue a notice and another six months to get the wall removed,” she said.

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“That’s $3500 a week, $187,000 for the whole year. How much was the fine?”

Shire chief executive Darren Simmons said only a court could impose such fines.

“So you didn’t fine them anything? Why didn’t you pursue it?” Mrs Barker asked.

“It wasn’t in the public interest,” Mr Simmons said.

“So we waited a whole year for you to do nothing? And we’re out of pocket because it wasn’t in your interest in me as a ratepayer?” Mrs Barker asked.

Mr Simmons then asked Mrs Barker if the wall problem had been rectified.

“After a year, yes it was, but what about the year that we had it in place where it shouldn’t have been?” Mrs Barker said.

“And the fees that you made us apply for, like the cadastral survey to prove that it was on our land when it’s obvious it was because our water meter lived next door.”

Mr Simmons said he had no further comment.

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