Residents protest illegal business
A GROUP of Neerdie residents have accused Gympie Regional Council of failing to take action against one of their neighbours for allegedly running a scrap metal business in the middle of a zoned residential area.
Members of the newly-formed Neerdie Community Action Group said they came together after feeling ignored when they made complaints as individuals to Council about noisy and toxic industrial activities destroying the peace of their neighbourhood.
They claimed anti-social behaviour, air and noise pollution, inappropriate industrial activities and the barking of five dogs believed to be kept on the property were “blatant” breaches of council by-laws.
The Greens Wide Bay candidate Dr Jim McDonald met with members of the group last week and came away convinced the alleged “illegal backyard business” operating on Heaviside Street had affected the health and well-being of immediate neighbours and nearby residents.
He said the offenders allegedly ran a business recycling scrap metal from cars, white goods, and electrical appliances including television sets.
He added that the failure of responsible authorities to deal with these activities led to threats of violence against a Neerdie resident who had been taking photographs for evidence.
“According to the residents, the alleged offenders had removed the junk from the yard before a council inspection and returned the material when the officer left,” Dr McDonald said.
“Other than that visit, the Neerdie residents had been abandoned by their council. The council has failed to act on their complaints... this (alleged business) is entirely inappropriate in a residential area and detrimental to the health of residents and the amenity of the area.
“I saw for myself a broken septic system at the residence. Neighbours complained of sewerage often flowing into their yards and nearby residents have had to keep their doors and windows closed to keep out the stench.”
Dr McDonald said this matter was another example of elected and appointed officials failing to meet the needs of the people who paid their taxes and rates.
Gympie Regional Council Planning and Development Chairman Ian Petersen said an investigating officer had recently acquired evidence to suggest there was an illegal business going on at Heaviside Street. He said council had been in correspondence with the occupants and the owner of the property and letters had been sent requesting all business activity be stopped.
“In our view there’s a development offence and we have asked them to stop directly. We will inspect further to make sure the business stops from running,” Cr Petersen said.
“We are well aware of residents’ concerns and are doing what we can within the rules we operate by. Before we could take action, council needed to be absolutely convinced that it was a business operating on the property and not just a messy yard.”