Fury over letter to clean ‘my backyard’

BACKYARD BLUE: The backyard of the Caroline St house, which the council has ordered to be cleaned up.
BACKYARD BLUE: The backyard of the Caroline St house, which the council has ordered to be cleaned up.

A BACKYARD stoush between a Yeppoon family and Livingstone Shire Council has exploded on to social media.

The Huttons, who have strong ancestral roots in Capricornia, have been issued with a compliance notice warning them they need to tidy up the backyard of their Caroline St home before Friday next week or they face a $227 fine.

Just this week the council issued them with the notice, along with photos of their backyard. A council officer had entered the property to take the pictures.

Keith Hutton, son of Lesley and Cleland Hutton (who owned the Caroline St house), took to Facebook to vent his frustrations over the notice his sister Melissa received from the council.

The letter stated: "In accordance with local law number three, you are hereby required to cut or slash all long grass on the property, including the brush cutting of fence lines at your premises by March 20, 2015."

Keith claimed the debris the council referred to was cyclone-related and therefore he and his family should not be liable for the clean-up.

The debris was about 300m from the road (over a hill) behind the house.

Keith told the Morning Bulletin the house belonged to his father Cleland. Melissa, who lives in Brisbane, has power of attorney over the house following their father's death in 2011.

Keith felt it was unfair of the council to slap his family with a fine.

A Livingstone Shire spokesman yesterday confirmed the council had received complaints in recent weeks relating to overgrown properties.

"The council has a statutory obligation to investigate and respond to such complaints," the spokesman said.

"If the complaint is legitimate and a property is found to be overgrown, the council is obliged to provide a direction to the property owner to remedy the situation within a specific period of time.

"If the council receives a legitimate request from a property owner for additional time to address the matter, an extension will be allowed.

"However, people cannot assume that the cyclone is an automatic excuse for not attending to overgrown or unsightly properties, particularly in circumstances where the problem is not a consequence of the cyclone."

Topics:  letter livingstone shire council social media yeppoon

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