LAND DISPUTE: Lane Whitfield and Mark Cummings at thier Sugarloaf property.
LAND DISPUTE: Lane Whitfield and Mark Cummings at thier Sugarloaf property.

Land dispute heats up

SUGARLOAF property owners Lane Whitfield and Mark Cummings bought property in the Whitsundays with a view to retiring to a stress-free life on a bush block.

But a dispute over the boundary of their land shared with Michael Hurren has put their planned life of tropical bliss on hold.

The land owners claim their neighbour has built two sheds that have encroached on their side of the block's division.

After numerous court appearances and spending more than $25,000 in legal fees, the couple in desperation contacted the Channel 7 news program Today Tonight.

"We are not very proud of that video but it was a shock to see what he had done,” Ms Whitfield said.

After the airing of the program the Sugarloaf land owners said it was "sensationalised” and some minor inaccuracy was presented to viewers.

"We put a barbed wire fence up to keep him off our property (and) got it surveyed,” Mr Cummings said. "There was a big boundary peg which was actually bolted to the concrete slab and he removed the whole lot and now he has gone and started to re-sheet the shed on our side of the property.”

The couple said Mr Hurren had offered no explanation for his actions.

Mr Hurren, through his lawyer, John Ryan, said he had not made a statement to Today Tonight out of respect for the Supreme Court which is currently dealing with the issues between the two parties.

Mr Ryan said the outcome of the matter which was initiated by Mr Hurren against Ms Whitfield and Mr Cummings would impact on the enforcement order issued by the council.

The Whitsunday Regional Council wrote to Ms Whitfield and Mr Cummings on December 30 last year saying that: "Council notes that the sheds encroach on your property and were constructed without a development permit.”

This was after an enforcement notice was issued to Mr Hurren on July 21, 2015, which required him to cease construction, lodge an application to obtain a development permit or remove the sheds.

No action was taken by the council after none of the options were acted upon and a second enforcement order was issued by the council on September 21, 2016.

The enforcement order can be appealed through the Planning and Environment Court or Mr Hurren has 10 days to gain approval for the sheds or 20 days to remove the sheds.

The matter is now before the Supreme Court and was to be presided over by Justice North in Townsville.


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