Court battle looms over trees

Shire to pursue legal action over the removal of vegetation

TREE TROUBLE: Kevin Sloan from Violet Town faces a potential court battle with the Shire of Strathbogie over the removal of native vegetation alongside his property.

THE dispute between Violet Town farmer Kevin Sloan and the Strathbogie Shire Council over the clearing of native vegetation along his property boundary looks destined to end up in court.

Kevin Sloan was told the Shire of Strathbogie would be pursuing legal action against him for the removal of trees, which he argues he had permission to remove, given their proximity to his boundary fence line.

In Victoria, it is unlawful to remove native vegetation under the Native Vegetation Act without a permit.

Under current laws (which are due to be changed later this year), an exemption is made for those clearing vegetation within four metres of their boundary fence.

Mr Sloan told The Weekly Times he was ‘advised by a council officer seven years ago’ that he could clear vegetation within this four metre rule when rebuilding his boundary fences, which border some six kilometres of road reserve vegetation along the Dookie-Violet Town Road.

Since that time, Mr Sloan says the council has rescinded any verbal agreement that was made by a council officer with him, and he has been presented with a show cause notice by the legal firm acting on behalf of the Shire of Strathbogie, Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd.

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