Vacant block prompts weed worries

BROWN Hill’s Kathleen Morris has been trying to contact the owners of the overgrown, vacant block behind her house for more than a decade.

The Thompson Street property, which is privately owned, is mowed only once a year at best, when the CFA issues a notice to the owners to clean it up during the fire season.

Ms Morris said she had been complaining to the Ballarat City Council for more than 10 years

The growth was so big now, her fence was tied to her carport with a rope to stop it collapsing.

“Once a year is not good enough,” Ms Morris said.

“Imagine if we only mowed once a year. The fences are falling down into our yard and the grass and suckers are over our fence line.”

Ms Morris said in addition to the growth, which was pushing against the old and frail fence, she hoped to contact the owners of the block about sharing the costs of a new fence.

The council gave her a business address in Melbourne to post the paperwork, but they were unknown at the address, Ms Morris said.

The council’s people and communities general manager Neville Ivey said the council wrote to the owners of vacant blocks in November, outlining owners’ obligations under the CFA Act to prepare their properties for the fire danger period.

“Council fire prevention officers began inspections of all vacant blocks in the city this week,” he said.

“This block has been inspected and a fire prevention notice has been issued.”

Mr Ivey said under the CFA Act, the council could only take enforcement action if a property was deemed to be a fire risk.

“If a block is assessed as a fire risk, owners will be issued with a fire prevention notice, giving them 14 days to cut the grass,” he said.

“If the grass is not cut, owners can face heavy fines and possible prosecution, and council contractors will slash the block at the owner’s cost.”

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