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Rats and snakes infest abandoned backyard

Kelso resident Philip Wood stands by the fence where is neighbour's yard is overrun. Picture: Evan Morgan
Kelso resident Philip Wood stands by the fence where is neighbour's yard is overrun. Picture: Evan Morgan

A KELSO man fears a neighbouring overgrown backyard is a haven for snakes and rats and poses a health and safety risk.

Philip Wood said he had seen a number of snakes and rats on his property which he believed were nesting and breeding in the unattended backyard.

"It's a safety hazard," Mr Wood said. "I don't see why I should have to put up with it."

Mr Wood said both he and his ex-wife approached Townsville City Council numerous times to be told the council had contacted the owners of the property to get the yard cleaned.

"I've rung the council, they don't want to know anything about it," he said.

"They say 'it's not our responsibility'. They should see how overgrown it is. Surely it would have to come under health issues."

However, the owner of the property said he was not made aware of any complaints about the state of the yard until last week.

Kevin Bryant, who now lives in Bowen, said the only correspondence about the condition of the property was a call from a friend.

"We definitely haven't been contacted at all by the council," Mr Bryant said.

"I've been made aware from a friend up there that there's been a complaint about it.

"We've taken steps to rectify that within days of being made aware."

Kelso resident Philip Wood stands by the fence where is neighbor's yard is overrun. Picture: Evan Morgan
Kelso resident Philip Wood stands by the fence where is neighbor's yard is overrun. Picture: Evan Morgan

Mr Bryant said he had hired someone to maintain his yard and had only recently discovered that it had been left unattended.

"We had someone lined up to take care of the yard. As far as we were aware that was still happening and apparently that's not the case," he said.

"This is the first time we've had any consultation with anyone or any notification from anyone at all."

Townsville City Council said the issue was previously resolved, despite Mr Wood and his ex-wife Barbara Lennon claiming the backyard had not been attended to for a number of years. A council spokesman said a complaint about overgrown vegetation at the property was being investigated by regulatory services.

"A complaint has been received in relation to the property," the spokesman said. Council is actively working with the property owner to ensure their property is maintained to an ­acceptable standard.

"The last time a compliance notice was issued to the property owner the compliance issues at the property were rectified."

Mr Wood and Ms Lennon have owned the property for about 30 years and said the back area of the yard next door had not been touched for four years.

"It's disgusting, especially when you pay your rates and the council don't want to know about it," Ms Lennon said.

"We've got grandkids, the youngest is one. You can't let them out here because you just don't know. We've already had a snake in the pool once."

Topics:  rats snakes



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