Significant fine issued for illegal land use

Ongoing complaints and refusal to comply with town planning regulations has resulted in a significant fine for a Geraldton man running an illegal industrial business from a rural residential property.

Acting on numerous complaints from the surrounding community the City undertook an investigation and the results revealed the property owner was not only illegally residing in a shed on his property; he was also operating an industrial business from the site without development approval.

City of Greater Geraldton CEO Ross McKim said staff had tried to work closely with the resident to resolve the issues.

“Over a number of months City staff worked with the man to ensure the shed he was living in was compliant which resulted retrospective planning and building approvals for the shed being granted,” he said.

“However, the sand blasting business did not have any development approval to operate.”

After numerous requests to stop the activities were ignored, Mr McKim said the City was left no other option but to take the matter to the Geraldton Magistrates Court in March 2018.

“The City takes breaches in the Planning and Development Act very seriously and will only resort to prosecution once all other avenues have been exhausted,” he said.

The Court described the offence as ‘significant, repeated and ongoing’ and noted that the accused had shown complete disregard for the City, its town planning requirements, and the accused’s own neighbours.

The Court also noted that the operation was generating significant commercial gain for the accused and that the operation was having significant adverse impact on the accused’s neighbours.

The penalty and costs recently awarded by the Court amounted to $77,093.00. If the illegal land use continues, the offender can be fined for every day that the offence continues. 

“The City has a responsibility to act in the best interest of residents by ensuring residential areas are not degraded by inappropriate industrial or commercial type activity which adversely impacts on the lifestyle of the people living there, the general amenity of the area or diminishes the value of their homes,” Mr McKim added.