Over-zealous Ipswich parking officers won't back off
AN IPSWICH pensioner refused to pay a parking fine he said he received while using his ute to pull out tree stumps on his front lawn.
Jim Skellern was flabbergasted when he received the $44 fine in the mail recently.
The photograph shows his Falcon cab chassis parked on the front lawn of his quiet suburban Raceview street as he tied a rope between a stump and the tow bar.
Supporting Mr Skellern's version of what happened is the fact that the driver's door is still open when the photo was taken by an Ipswich City Council parking inspector.
Mr Skellern had spent that morning using his ute to rip three unwanted shrubs out of his front lawn.
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"I should be allowed to back my ute up onto my own front lawn and pull a few trees out if that's what I want to do," Mr Skellern said.
"I'm a pensioner and I can't afford to pay these senseless fines."
Next-door neighbour John Visser, who was helping Mr Skellern on the morning of June 24, said he had received several fines for parking on his lawn in recent months.
"I believe council needs to back off a bit from this area," Mr Visser said.
"It seems the inspectors are bringing the hammer down unfairly on certain areas."
Councillor Charlie Pisasale approached parking officers to see if some discretion could be shown in the matter - without success.
Cr Pisasale went to Mr Skellern's house the next day, taking photographs which showed trees had been removed, and asked council officers to consider if anything could be done.
"I would have thought that some discretion could be shown," Cr Pisasale said.
"It was pretty obvious that trees had been removed and I was disappointed that they couldn't give some kind of dispensation.
"The reason given was that some guy up the road had been fined for a similar offence recently - so they couldn't excuse one without excusing the other."
There was hope of a reprieve for Mr Skellern, with Ipswich community safety spokesman Andrew Antoniolli saying on Friday morning he had asked for another review of the fine.
"Ipswich City Council responds to footpath parking in response to complaints from other residents," Cr Antoniolli said.
"I have sought a further review in this instance as I believe the resident has not been afforded procedural fairness." Yesterday afternoon, Mr Skellern called the QT to say Ipswich City Council contacted him to say the fine had been waived.
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