'Trapped forever': Legal action launched after ten-year dispute
GLADSTONE Regional Council has started legal action against the owners of a South Gladstone property over earthworks first carried out on their land almost a decade ago.
The earthworks were first reported on by The Observer in 2011, three years after the council was approached by another Agnes St resident concerned about the lack of a retaining wall causing "an eight-metre sheer drop" between his own property and the land in question.
Acting on behalf of the council, MRH Lawyers lodged an application last Tuesday with the Planning and Environment Court in Brisbane, asking the court to order David Peter Corke and Meryl Anne Corke to comply with an enforcement notice issued to them by the council on January 12.
The enforcement notice said the council "reasonably believes the Respondents have carried out... earth- works in excess of 100m3" without the required permit, and required Mr and Mrs Corke to install erosion control measures and either lodge another application for the works or restore the land to its former condition.
The council's application also asks the court to order Mr and Mrs Corke to pay the council's court costs.
Brian Robertson owns the property on the other side of the excavation in question and has been pursuing the matter with the council and solicitors since 2008.
Mr Robertson said he was thankful the council had taken legal action, however he did not feel optimistic the situation would be fully resolved any time soon.
"I've fought tooth and nail to get them to do something over the years," he said.
"This goes right back to the time of amalgamation.
"There's been a lot of people involved with it (at the council) but then amalgamation came, the LNG came... you get pushed to the backburner.
"This last push has taken 12 months to even get to where we are now."
Mr Robertson said he felt "trapped forever" by the current situation because he could not sell his property while the issue persisted.
"With the market the way it is now you wouldn't even get enough to cover the cost of a wall," he said.
"It's a beautiful view, you can see sunsets, South End... but after 10 years I don't want to see the place."
Mr Robertson said the long delay could also be attributed to the fact he had engaged the services of former Gladstone solicitor David McHenry, whose practising certificate was cancelled by the Queensland Law Society last March.
The application is next listed to proceed on April 5.
A Gladstone Regional Council representative said the council was unable to comment on court proceedings it was party to.
David Corke had not replied to a request for comment by deadline.