Smoke signs ignite city’s ire

Bev and Roy Strong have erected signs outside their house criticising the City for what they say is inaction against a neighbour’s ‘toxic’ chimney smoke. Picture: Jon Hewson d403785d
Bev and Roy Strong have erected signs outside their house criticising the City for what they say is inaction against a neighbour’s ‘toxic’ chimney smoke. Picture: Jon Hewson d403785d

Roy and Bev Strong erected the signs in the front yard of their Rockingham home, which they say is shrouded daily in acrid smoke from their neighbour’s wood fire, which they claim is being used to burn green wood and rubbish.

The couple has complained to the council about the pollution for two consecutive winters and say it has not taken strong enough action against the resident.

‘As ratepayers, we need help urgently,’ Mrs Strong said.

‘We all have the right to breathe fresh air for our own health. This is the second winter we are being forced to breathe these toxic emissions.’

But Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said despite many visits by the City’s environmental health officers at times recommended by the Strongs, the neighbouring chimney was never seen to produce an unreasonable amount of smoke that could be deemed a nuisance under the Health Act.

‘Following a real lack of evidence, Mr and Mrs Strong have been advised that they would need to provide some evidence to the City that the chimney was producing unreasonable smoke,’ Cr Sammels said.

Mrs Strong said that ultimately she and her husband wanted non-compliant wood heaters banned in the City.

‘It appears that over the 15 visits you claim your health officers have made to our neighbour, very little has been done,’ Mrs Strong said. ‘The World Health Organisation says if you can see and smell smoke, you are being polluted.’

Cr Sammels said officers had liaised a number of times with the neighbour and during all inspections, there had not been unreasonable smoke emitted from the chimney.

‘The City cannot take action if there is no evidence of an offence,’ Cr Sammels said.