Brian Neill watches as his neighbour’s overgrown yard is tamed by contractors.
Brian Neill watches as his neighbour’s overgrown yard is tamed by contractors. Chris Ison

It's a real jungle out there

BRIAN NEILL finally got his wish yesterday as contractors moved in to tame the Buckle St jungle.

The jungle, otherwise known as "the empty house next door", is one of 1863 blocks the council has had complaints about in the past 12 months.

And the problem is getting steadily worse, says Cr Tony Williams.

"They come in at the rate of five a day and with the current weather conditions, it's the busiest time of the year," he said.

Council compliance officers had issued 191 $200 fines in the last year.

And occasionally, if landlords refuse or are unable to comply with an order to tidy the block, contractors do the work. The bill is then passed on to the property owner.

"Our officers inspect every block where there's been a complaint. It's time consuming."

Courtesy letters are sent to every address where there has been a complaint, followed by a visit within two weeks.

"In 60% of cases, owners have rectified the problem before the visit."

He said most of the blocks that attracted complaints were rental properties or those awaiting development.

In the Buckle St house, there had been six complaints spanning three years and there had been fines and clean-up action in the past, he said.

"I can understand the frustration of neighbours such as Mr Neill but these things take time because of the legal restrictions we work under.

"We can clean up the yard, but if it is not maintained and becomes overgrown again, there are legal procedures we have to go through once more."

 

OVERGROWN YARDS

  • In the past year the council has dealt with 1863 complaints across the region.
  • Letters are sent to each address where there has been a complaint instructing the owner to clean the mess.
  • 191 fines were issued for non compliance.


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