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Man cops $450 fine for pouring coffee on ground

Pouring coffee out on the road can cost you a hefty fine according to council.
Pouring coffee out on the road can cost you a hefty fine according to council. Marc Stapelberg

A BYRON Shire resident was outraged to receive a $450 fine after his friends allegedly poured a flask of coffee out beside his vehicle.

Matthew Remapped was at home on Sunday August 6 recovering from a knee reconstruction when rangers came and left the ticket on his van which was parked at Fawcett Street in Brunswick Heads.

Mr Remapped said the fine was "beyond a joke" and Byron Shire Council was "out of control".

"I rang the ranger that gave me that ticket and had a massive argument with him, I said I can't believe it I'm recovering from surgery and a friend of mine just popped down there to have a coffee," Mr Remapped said.

"I don't litter, I pick up cigarette butts, I'm a good member of the community, I'm an environmentalist, I know about sustainability and I recycle everything."

The NSW Environment Protection Authority states under the Protection of Environment Operations Act 1997, a $450 fine is incurred for littering in dangerous circumstances, such as depositing of a syringe or lit cigarette ($900 for corporations).

Other fine tiers include: $80 for littering small items, such as bottle tops and cigarette butts, $250 for general littering and $250 for an individual littering from a vehicle ($500 for corporations).

Byron Shire Council's Legal Services Coordinator, Ralph James, said a person who has received an infringement notice can ask council for a review.

"Our enforcement officers investigate matters according the available evidence and when they issue infringement notices they take into account the nature and strength of the evidence in each case," Mr James said.

Since receiving the fine Mr Remapped has taken to Facebook to share his frustration by posting on approximately 15 community groups.

"There is got to be over 60,000 people that have reacted to this and about 1% are actually saying 'ha ha serves you right' and the rest are just disgusted," he said.

"Thousands of people have said to me they are just going to avoid the place, they're not coming here and it is really going to affect tourism."

This is not the first time Mr Remapped has received a fine from the Byron Shire Council, having received two parking fines in the last month for his 6.5 metre long motorhome.

"I've had enough, you're really discriminated against if you've got a motorhome here," Mr Remapped said.

"I think it is also much worse for me because I have got WA plates on."

"It's just out of control with the tickets and fines and it's gotten to a stage where I can't afford to pay for them, and I am not paying $450 it's just outrageous."

Byron Shire Council denied that its enforcement officers target any individuals. 

"They do a difficult job and work hard at building relationships in the community to ensure it remains safe and clean for locals and visitors," Mr James said.

"There is an expectation from our residents that Byron Shire Council will enforce rules relating to matters such as littering, disposal of waste, and illegal camping and parking." 

Mr Remapped said as soon as his leg is healed, he will be leaving the Byron Shire and will never return.

Topics:  brunswick heads byron shire council editors picks environment protection authority fines littering northern rivers



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