IT'S A MESS: South Mackay resident Larry Murchie thinks council is being too hard on him.
IT'S A MESS: South Mackay resident Larry Murchie thinks council is being too hard on him. Stuart Quinn

Resident facing $6000 fine for 'messy' yard

BEAUTY is in the eye of the beholder - especially in the case of South Mackay resident Larry Murchie, who could soon be slapped with a $6300 fine for the state of his yard.

Mr Murchie has planted numerous fruit trees and herb plants in the front yard of his Clements St, South Mackay home in the last 10 years.

"Every day in the first seven years I'd come out at 4pm in the afternoon and work until it was dark,” he said.

But Mr Murchie's garden zen has captured the attention of neighbours - and the council. There are now two separate matters against the property, according to Mackay Regional Council.

Community and Client Services director Bridget Mather said council's Local Laws team worked to resolve complaints through compliance, with fines only issued as a last resort.

"One is in relation to several complaints we've received about an overgrown garden bed on the council footpath. A permit was approved in 2013 for this footpath garden bed to remain on the basis the applicant, a resident, would maintain the area,” she said.

"That garden bed has now become overgrown and of most concern is prickly pear, which is a safety issue for the public as the garden is on a footpath.

"Our Local Laws team has sent three compliance notices, asking for this area to be tidied up, or we'll remove the footpath garden bed as the conditions of the permit are not being complied with.”

Ms Mather said the second matter was in relation to a complaint about an untidy yard at the address adjoining the garden footpath.

"We've issued two compliance notices in relation to this, with the latest giving the resident until August 5 to comply.”

In an official council letter seen by the Daily Mercury, a council officer inspected Mr Murchie's property at noon about June 27 and confirmed that the property was "untidy” and that there was "sufficient evidence” to issue him with a notice.

"Within 14 days of the date of this notice remove all objects and materials which have seriously affected the visual amenity of the allotment and/or are likely to attract or harbour reptiles,” the council notice stated.

Mr Murchie, should he miss the latest deadline, is now liable for a maximum fine of $6300.

He has alleged the council is only taking action against him after a single complaint from a nearby neighbour.

Mr Murchie also said his garden was recently vandalised by a resident unhappy with him and his garden.

The South Mackay resident's garden was endorsed by ABC's garden guru Costa Georgiadis in 2013, after a similar run-in between Mr Murchie and the Mackay Regional Council.

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