The mistake made by Jim Forbes, Cr Lorraine Brunt and other residents nabbed for planning infringements (‘Eviction order on ex-mayor, Cr Brunt’, Sentinel-Times, August 5) is that of being ‘little people’.
If they had been a large, multi-national corporation, the council would have let them get away with it.
In our experience, for the past nine months, South Gippsland Shire Council management has studiously ignored reports of multiple permit breaches by Mitsui and its contractors at the Bald Hills wind farm construction site.
To our knowledge, the council hasn’t issued a single infringement notice. Instead, it has happily and knowingly allowed the developer to work well beyond the hours specified on the permit extending into night time and weekends, disturb the amenity of local residents, destroy local council-controlled roads and not repair them, endanger the lives of local residents courtesy of dangerous truck driving and unsafe roads, and destroy native vegetation.
Local residents making complaints directly have been threatened and harassed by company staff while the council has looked the other way.
It’s a pity that the council didn’t behave as per Mr Tamlin’s reported comments – “we treat everyone equally” and “action by a property owner may be so blatant that legal action is taken immediately. You can’t have people going out and doing that and completely flouting the law”.
To our knowledge, the council management has taken legal advice about permit breaches at the Bald Hills Wind Farm but withheld the advice from Councillors whilst remaining inactive on the enforcement front.
It appears to be so much easier to take ‘little people’ to court who can’t easily fight back while letting the big guys do what they like. The big guys might even donate some money to council projects!
Don Fairbrother, Noel Uren, Andrew Kilsby.