Backyard bog gets deeper with repair bill set at $10,000

AT WITS END: Ken Harris takes a rest after digging this trench to try to access a groundwater pipe.
AT WITS END: Ken Harris takes a rest after digging this trench to try to access a groundwater pipe. Austin King Rokakbackyard


A MUDDY stoush between Taranganba's Ken Harris and Livingstone council has taken a sickly turn.

The retired pensioner has the shingles (painful acute inflammation of the nerve ganglia) to prove it.

"For nearly three weeks I have been sick and bloody stressed over the groundwater issue in my backyard... all I want is for an engineer from the council to come and see me," a frustrated Ken told the Capricorn Coast Mirror.

"They (council officers) came with their cameras, took a heap of photos of my backyard and I haven't heard from them since."

He's stressing because he doesn't want to be slapped with a fine.

He lifts his damp singlet, saturated from the sweat- storm of a hard day's work.

He then reveals his entire back, and the upper regions of his chest, covered in red spots and blisters (shingles).

Ken's doctor told him it could be a few more days before he's back to normal.

Ken owns a home at the bottom of Swordfish Ave, where rainwater from any deluge creates a marsh-of- a-mess on his lawn.

Earlier this month, Ken received a compliance notice from Livingstone Shire Council stating he needed to brush cut his fence line and mow the grass.

He couldn't carry out those works because it was too expensive.

A poor drainage system, to channel groundwater off his property, also caused groundwater to seep through the ground in his backyard.

Since he received the letter from the council, Ken has put every inch of his strength and finances to sort out the problem.

It will take a good $10,000 to fix the drainage pipes.

He said he wanted the council to address a drainage issue on their land, which backs on to the eastern boundary of Ken's property.

Ken has dug a series of groundwater pipe systems on his property to funnel water off his property and into a nearby drain on council land.

The problem he said was the water could not run off into the drain because thick vegetation covered the entrance to the culvert on the land next door.

Ken was warned not to use any herbicides on his land because the toxins would kill fish in a swamp near the culvert.

"All I'm asking for is a bit of help," he said. "I can't do much more."

Topics:  livingstone shire council

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