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Council withdraws retiree's fine for failing to mow lawn

GROWING PROBLEM: Heart patient Sandy Barrie received a fine for an overgrown lawn.
GROWING PROBLEM: Heart patient Sandy Barrie received a fine for an overgrown lawn. Rob Williams

A FINE issued to a Bundamba retiree who failed to keep his lawn mowed while recovering from coronary treatment has been withdrawn.

Retired Bundamba photographer Sandy Barrie wrote a letter to the editor published in the Queensland Times last week calling on council for some compassion.

The $580 fine was issued for failing to maintain his property.

Mr Barrie had been released from Ipswich Hospital in August for mild cardiac failure after his 25th visit for a heart condition. He also has severe arthritis.

After receiving a notice from council to maintain his property, Mr Barrie said he managed to mow most of his lawn before inspectors came around, but was still fined for failing to act on the notice.

"I have done my best to try and clean up my property, as much as my arthritic and other physical injuries allow," he said.

Mr Barrie said he could not afford to pay the fine and would elect to go to jail.

He said his health prevented him from keeping the lawn maintained, especially in the storm season, and he could not afford to pay for a gardening service and the problem would be ongoing.

Local councillor Bruce Casos said he received a complaint from Mr Barrie and the council had decided to withdraw the fine.

"I thought it was grossly unfair that the man had made an attempt to start to mow his lawn but physically he wasn't able to do the job and he demonstrated very clearly to us that he had a medical condition that prevented him from mowing his own grass," Cr Casos said.

Cr Casos said the problem was a broader concern for the community.

He said the Home Assist program had stopped providing mowing services after losing funding for the service in 2012.

Cr Casos said he would write to the State Member asking for the program to be reinstated.

"All levels of government are encouraging people to stay in their own homes as long as they possibly can," he said.

"Mowing vouchers were withdrawn back in 2012.

"I'd like to see that funding reinstated."

Topics:  council fine ipswich retiree



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