DOWNBEAT: Neville Peirpoint says he's devastated at not being able to maintain Dalveen.
DOWNBEAT: Neville Peirpoint says he's devastated at not being able to maintain Dalveen. Matthew Purcell

Community mower man axed by council

ALL communities have unsung heroes - people who give a lot and ask little in return.

For 16 years the village of Dalveen has had Neville Peirpoint - but no more.

"For all that time I've been doing the mowing around Dalveen. That's around the hall, fire shed, the nature strip and a couple of other places... a park across from my place. ," he said.

"People just mowed their house yards and I did everything else."

While undertaking dump maintenance for council nearly 12 years ago, he sustained an injury, but that didn't deter his determination.

"I fell and broke a bone below my knee and couldn't work."

But he could always still sit on a mower and ensure the beautification of Dalveen.

He went that extra step and reached into his own pocket to plant trees all over the community - which he also maintained.

Over this period of time, the council had paid Neville a token sum so they had one less task to concern themselves with.

Late last year he received a letter terminating that arrangement.

"I said 'look, I just want to mow the places you're not mowing'. They said they were just mowing the places around Jim Mitchell Park and a little bit up around the hall.

"A couple weeks before Christmas, they had mowed the park once, and I asked were they going to do it before Christmas. I said, could I do it?

"They said well we'd rather you didn't. Said 'if you did any damage and we didn't okay that it needed mowing, well we'll sue you'.

"I didn't think of doing anything after that.

"It's just very annoying and for a while it hurt. I said can you at least let me know are you going to look after the trees... well I've had no response and that's hard because I've put a lot in to that."

He's been in Dalveen for 21 years but on Christmas Eve he moved 13km up the road to a little spot on his sister's property. Despite still having his house and workshop, Neville said it was too difficult for him to be there.

"It just annoys me every time I go out and see everything around looking how it does. I like it where I am now... it's quiet and there's just things I can do and that's good for me," he said.

Council was asked for comment but did not respond by deadline.

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