Francis O?Neill and Natasha Dunton  are at their wits? end
Francis O?Neill and Natasha Dunton are at their wits? end

Fenceline foes

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

LOVE thy neighbour ... not likely for some Gladstone residents it would seem.

Bricks through windows, swearing and physical confrontations have become part of local neighbourhood disputes, causing some residents untold grief.

Natasha Dunton and Francis O'Neill are at their wits' end after a group of young people moved in next door to them about six months ago.

"There's screaming, doors being slammed, loud music and swearing,'' Mrs Dunton explained.

Just a matter of days ago a brick was hurled through the window of a neighbouring property after a dispute escalated into a physical confrontation.

Mrs Dunton said there had also been an alleged attempted stabbing.

She is now considering moving because of the strain the situation has placed on her family.

"They want to fight, but they are usually behind the door just screaming at each other,'' she said.

"If they ever got face to face outside it would be on.

"I won't even hang my washing out or let my kids go outside to play anymore.

"We have to keep all the windows and doors closed.''

One of Mrs Dunton's neighbours, Ms O'Neill, said the police had visited the home to deal with complaints three times in the past two weeks.

According to Ray Chapman from the Gladstone City Council tenant advice and advocacy service, complaints about neighbourhood disputes were common place in Gladstone.

"I frequently get them (complaints),'' he said.

"Quite often they are from elderly people who have problems with younger neighbours, where drugs or alcohol may be involved.''

However when it came to action, Mr Chapman said there was little neighbourhood dispute victims could do.

"Nothing, that's the short and correct answer,'' he said.

"They have no recourse to any action under the resident tenancy act.''

Instead Mr Chapman suggested people lodge an official complaint with their landlord or police.

Gladstone police Senior Sergeant Leigh Burt said it was frustrating for police to continually deal with neighbourhood disputes.

Sgt Burt said the disputes usually stemmed from noise, barking dogs or fighting kids and could escalate into physical altercations.

"Dad comes home and finds out and then goes over and it ends up in a punch up on the front lawn,'' Sgt Burt said.

"It is frustrating, because you would think that adults would be able to sort their problems out without it getting to that. If they don't get along they should just leave each other alone and get on with their own lives''.



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