Squatters turn rural idyll into living nightmare

Contributed

 

BARKING dogs, a cranking generator and loud arguments; the once peaceful sounds of a country neighbourhood have been overturned by a relentless and expanding disturbance.

A Mary Valley couple, who wish to remain anonymous, said their lives had been turned upside down since squatters moved into a gravel pit next to their Tuchekoi property.

A converted school bus, caravan and tent are the centrepiece of the makeshift camp site set up on land owned by Main Roads, that a mess of furniture, fridges and cars being worked on spill from - and it's getting out of control, the neighbours say.

"If you went to a scrap yard - that's the view you're looking at and it's growing by the day," the neighbours said.

The concerned couple said the squatters moved earlier in the year after they spent at least six months setting up home elsewhere in the area.

In public view of a trail leading to popular Mary River swimming hole, complaints rolled in at the time, before the squatters moved, with perhaps the rising waters of Cyclone Debbie giving them an extra nudge, the neighbours said.

Now their presence is the firm problem of their new Tuchekoi neighbours who said months of complaints to authorities and govern- ment departments had resulted in nothing.

"These people are squatting and nobody is doing anything about it," they said.

"We're just running around in circles."

The Department of Main Roads confirmed it had received complaints about the situation but could not provide a comment yesterday.

Imbil police senior constable Bill Greer said police were aware of the situation and had been liaising with Main Roads with a view to resolving the matter as soon as possible.

The fed-up home-owner said he was not sleeping and the squatters' presence and behaviour was seriously hindering his home life.

"I've got roosters, generators, dogs barking and lights being shone into our property all night." he said.

His wife said the usual peaceful birds sounds had been replaced with all-night arguing and sounds of wheelies and burn-outs on the road.

"Day and night they fight - you can hear them all the time," she said.

"I've never lived near anything like it."

The couple have lived on their property for five years.

Queensland squatting legislation indicates the squatters are not necessarily breaking laws, but that they cannot claim the land for themselves in any way.

For residential properties, squatters can try to legally claim the land after living consistently for 12 years.

This method, known as adverse possession, does not apply to Crown land.

Gympie Times


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