Willagee: resident and City of Melville divided over fence issue

Denis Forkin is disgruntled that the Cit y of Melville will not help to replace a fence that borders council property. Picture: Jon Hewson.
Denis Forkin is disgruntled that the Cit y of Melville will not help to replace a fence that borders council property. Picture: Jon Hewson.

DENIS Forkin is upset the City of Melville will not pitch in to replace an old asbestos fence on his Willagee property despite the Department of Housing footing some of the bill.

The 40m fence runs along Mr Forkin’s property and one of the City’s drainage sump, as well as vacant land which is owned by the State Government department.

Mr Forkin said the Department of Housing had been easy to deal with and only requested photos of the fence and two quotes for its replacement.

“When I talked to the City, they talked bout the Dividing Fences Act, which says that they aren’t liable to contribute,” he said.

“It’s an asbestos fence with a rotten timber frame that needs to be replaced.

“I feel a bit disgruntled that as a ratepayer the council wouldn’t help me out. I’ve been able to get some quotes and it will cost about $6000 to replace the fence, so the council would have only needed to contribute about $1500.”

City of Melville executive Marten Tieleman said requirements for sharing the costs of construction and repair of dividing fences between adjoining landowners were set out in the Dividing Fences Act 1961.

“The Act specifically does not bind the Crown, which effectively means it does not apply to government, and as such does not require the City to contribute to the construction or repair of a fence between its own land and that of someone else,” he said.

“The City may pay for some construction and repair of fences around its properties where public interest concerns such as security or safety are involved, where a fence is damaged by the City’s actions, or in the case of where it is used for purposes other than a public purpose in the case of freehold City land; for example, a City-owned house.

“The City considers such requests on an individual basis and the resident is invited to put forward their case for the City to assess any possible contribution to essential repairs.”