Chainsaws at 10 paces as dog park dispute turns ugly
An inner-west resident infuriated by noise from people using an offleash area denies he used loud recordings of a chainsaw and heavy metal music to drive away dog lovers.
He also denied claims from neighbours that he had been firing up a noisy leaf blower.
But Chapel Hill's Michael Spry admitted to verbally abusing the local councillor, Greg Adermann, who had been working hard to upgrade the old dog shelter.
Cr Adermann and residents gathered a few weeks ago to celebrate the opening of a new shelter at the Merri Merri Park offleash area when Mr Spry admitted to turning on a spotlight and abusing the councillor.
Dog lovers also claimed Mr Spry frequently had a very noisy leaf blower operating, played loud music through a speaker he held over his fence and directed a garden hose on the area to saturate it.
He also left the leaf blower on, and hanging from a veranda, while going out, they claimed.
Resident Rob Murdoch said the heavy metal music was so loud he could hear it at his home several hundred metres away.
Oil was also poured on a seat near the shelter and a car was keyed, although it is unknown who did that or why.
Neighbours said they contacted police, although Westside News was unable to confirm that with police, who declined to comment saying it was a "civil matter''.
But Mr Spry said he was the victim as the old shelter, now demolished, was just 3m from his fence line and 10m from his bedroom window.
The replacement was still very close to his property, he said.
Noise from dogs and people talking could be heard throughout his house, from early morning until dark every day, he said.
"I did swear at him (Cr Adermann). I called him some nasty words and turned on a spotlight as it was dark,'' Mr Spry said.
"I was shocked and annoyed to see him with this group. He has been extremely biased on this right from the start and has taken the side of the dog park group.
"I get woken up at the crack of dawn and there's people still there late at night.''
Mr Spry admitted to playing music, but said that was his right and denied any knowledge of cranking out loud heavy metal or using a chainsaw and amplifier.
But Mr Murdoch, who started a petition to have the shelter moved, said Mr Spry's music had often been so loud he had heard it from his house and said the leaf blower was often operating from 4-6pm, peak times for dog users.
Mr Spry said the noise from dog users had become worse over the years as the offleash area grew more popular.
So he persuaded the former Pullenvale ward Councillor, Kate Richards, to knock down the shelter and build a new one in a far corner of the park.
Instead, work stopped before the March Council election.
The new shelter was completed last month at another spot, about 20m away, but Mr Spry said it was still so close to his bedroom he could hear people.
Cr Adermann gave a speech in Council at its Tuesday meeting about the matter, confirming there had been a confrontation.
He told the Chamber that the site chosen by Cr Richards was floodprone, which was confirmed by Council's asset management team.
After receiving a petition from about 45 residents, he worked hard to get a new shelter built near the old structure on higher ground.
"I'm pleased to report that this is a story with a happy ending. But it could
have easily gone the other way,'' he said.
"This is democracy at its best and shows how Council's petition system is
meant to work. It's been a win for people power.
Cr Adermann said while he did not personally witness those incidents, multiple residents had assured him they had happened.
He said he was taken by surprise by the confrontation at the gathering to celebrate the new shelter.
"What I didn't expect was the ambush from X, the spotlight in the face and the abusive language,'' he said.
"As local representatives, we've all been there, but the reward is achieving the right outcome and one that the community knows was made in their best interests.''
Originally published as Chainsaws at ten paces as dog park dispute turns ugly