By JADE BILOWOL UNRAVELLING the mystery behind who is legally responsible for the nature strip fronting residential property has landed Ian Timmins in the Gold Coast City Council's firing line. Mr Timmins (pictured) first hit headlines in the Gold Coast Mail last month with his refusal to maintain the council-owned land in front of his mother Henrietta's Mermaid Waters house for fear of litigation. He said the strip had become overgrown and hazardous, as he did not want to maintain it and therefore accept legal responsibility if a passer-by was injured. The ordeal began after Mr Timmins was angered by delayed attempts by council to see Telstra fix botched remedial work on the strip last year. Mr Timmins chided a recent letter from Major Ron Clarke that indicated action could be taken to ensure the land was maintained by Mr Timmins. In the letter addressed to Mr Timmins, Cr Clarke stated, "I am not too sure what action we can take if you refuse, but certainly we shall look into our regulations as it is unfair to other citizens for you alone, of all the residents in your street, to choose not to look after your particular section". "I interpret that comment as a threat to instigate legal action against my mother if she refuses to maintain and accept legal responsibility for council-owned property," Mr Timmins said. "They are bullying my mother, who is 90-years old, legally blind, has end-stage Alzheimers to the extent that she cannot walk, cannot talk, can do absolutely nothing for herself and doesn't even know her own name - and our mayor is hinting that he will take legal action against her.
Verge War 2: Son told to cut nature stripo?From Page 1.
"This is quite disturbing when the Parks Superintendent stated in his letter on December 15 last year, 'council does mow footpaths and frontages in extreme circumstances, predominantly to allow for pedestrian negotiation when the grass becomes too long'."
Mr Timmins said he was certain insurance would not cover injury on a driveway intersecting the footpath on the nature strip because the coun- cil did not construct the driveway.
"Council have a duty of care to remove known hazards, but it willingly allows one to not only remain but become even more dangerous."
Palm Beach Cr Daphne McDonald has called for a full report on all the ramifications for residents and their nature strips following confusion surrounding the issue.
She said she had received a wave of queries from people eager to find out if they should stop mowing their lawns and who was legally responsible for if injury resulted on the nature strips.
In February a council spokesman could not rule out that if someone was injured on a council-owned verge, the owner of the backing residential property could wear court costs.
However, he said the scenario was extremely unlikely if residents did not have any unapproved additions to the front of their properties nor hazards such as illegal tree stumps.