FINAL RESULT: Lane Whitfield and Mark Cummings stand on the slab of the shed to be demolished at Sugarloaf.
FINAL RESULT: Lane Whitfield and Mark Cummings stand on the slab of the shed to be demolished at Sugarloaf. Peter Carruthers

Sugarloaf land fight resolved

FOR almost two years, land owners at Sugarloaf have been battling for a resolution to a dispute about sheds they say were built illegally on their land.

The couple from Newcastle bought the land with a view to building a home and retiring to the bush block on Dominica Dr - when a stoush erupted over the boundary line of the property.

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

A hearing had been slated for August 16-18 in the Townsville Supreme Court, however the matter did not go to trial after shed-builder Michael Hurren withdrew his claim to the land.

Mr Hurren was given 30 days by Justice North of the Townsville Supreme Court to seek a demolition permit from the Whitsunday Regional Council.

Council can confirm this application was made and has been granted.

Yesterday he began the process of removing two sheds which straddle the boundary he shares with Mr Cummings and Ms Whitfield.

Whitsunday Regional Council wrote to Ms Whitfield and Mr Cummings on December 30, 2015, saying that: "Council notes that the sheds encroach on your property and were constructed without a development permit.”

The legal battle has cost Mr Cummings and Ms Whitfield more than $60,000 in legal fees.

"We have saved our land but the fight we have been through in the last two-and-a-half years is gut-wrenching,” Mr Cummings said.

"You don't sleep at nights and we have had to borrow money (for legal fees) and we can't claim that money because we are not going to trial.”

Mr Cummings said he and Ms Whitfield had sold all their belongings to pay solicitors.

"Then that money ran out and we decided we have got to do this ourselves,” he said.

"We have to fight for our land. If you don't fight for it, they get it.”

Ms Whitfield said she was happy with the decision which was "what the fight was all about”.

The couple sought advice from prominent Maroochydore land owner Peter Wise who battled council for 11 years to remove an illegal swimming pool built on his land.

"Without his help, we would have given up and gone back and offered them whatever they wanted,” Ms Whitfield said.

Next week, part two of the couple's fight will be broadcast on Today Tonight Adelaide.


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