Kim won’t pay for broken grid

Kim Wiesner with the damaged grid.
Kim Wiesner with the damaged grid.

DAMAGE to grids along Curricabark Rd has led to a war of words between Gloucester Shire Council and a local property owner.

Kim Wiesner said the grid between her property and a neighbouring property was severely damaged before Easter by a council roadwork crew driving a padfoot roller across the grid.

In the months since, she has had several heated conversations with council staff about replacing the structure, with both parties refusing to pay.

Council claims the grid was in poor condition and not properly maintained by the property owner as required under the Dividing Fences Act.

But Mrs Wiesner disputes this.

“Council told me it was a sub-standard grid,” she said.

“I bought the property with the grids in place and there was never a mention of them being sub-standard.

“Every grid on this road has a gate next to it. Why did the compactor have to go over the grid instead of using the gate?”

A second grid, also used by Mrs Wiesner to control cattle movements, was buried by council road staff at a similar time.

Again, Mrs Wiesner was told it was because the grid was unsafe and substandard.

Again, Mrs Wiesner disputes this.

Norm Lipson, council’s Assets Manager, said council did not dispute its roller had damaged the grid, but reiterated that the grid was in poor shape before the roadwork took place.

“Council makes the concession to allow property owners to install gates and ramps as an alternative to fencing the road, thus avoiding the large financial imposition of fencing long lengths of road,” he said.

“In consideration of this concession it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that the gate-ramp is maintained to a good standard so as not to present a hazard to road users.”

Mr Lipson said council was dealing with the adjoining property owner to replace the grid and had put in place procedures to make sure outdoor staff were aware of the dangers of driving across grids in heavy machinery.

Mrs Wiesner has vowed to continue to fight council over the matter; despite receiving a letter from the Shire just days ago informing her she had 28 days to replace the grid.

“If I replace it does this mean council can continue to do what it likes?” she said.

“What’s to stop the same thing happening again?”