Andrew Watts said he paid $2070 to turf and reticulate the front verge of his lot as part of an agreement with the City that would allow him to subdivide his property within a strict time period.
‘I wanted this done as swiftly as possible but they said the only way this could be signed off in that time was to turf and reticulate,’ he said.
Mr Watts was OK with the payment until allegedly told by a City worker planting a tree on the verge that he should not have had to pay.
Cockburn’s planning and development director Daniel Arndt said the conditions were normal policy for people looking to subdivide.
‘Policy SEW1 provides guidance on the development and maintenance periods of verges and public open space in new subdivisions,’ he said.
‘Both these policies are to ensure the level of development undertaken by either a property owner or developer on the verge or public open space are to an acceptable and standard level of appearance.’
But Mr Watts is arguing otherwise. He says he should not have been forced to upgrade council land, and that policy SEW1 was not relevant because he had to install the turf and reticulation himself, not maintain it.
‘I’ve got the council policies and the City’s interpretation is pretty wide of the mark. They’re drawing a long bow and the policies are not applicable in this case,’ he said.
‘Policy SEW1 is obviously targeted at big developers selling multiple lots. In my case it’s just a small piece of verge.’
He said he was offered $1500 repayment by the City but would chase the full amount.
‘If they had been on rock solid ground they wouldn’t have offered me money, they would have just said go away.’
Mr Arndt would not say whether the City had made the offer, only that ex-gratia payments are confidential.