Aged landowner set to dig in
By DAVID BANCROFT
FOR all of his 89 years, Dudley Innes has been a 'a good boy'. He has never been in trouble with the law and has always paid his bills.
That is soon to change. The elderly landowner is about to rebel.
He says he will refuse to pay the bill he received from the State Government to cover rental of an enclosed road on his 40-hectare property near Coutts Crossing.
Mr Innes moved to the property in the early 1980s and has been paying $50 a year rent for a road reserve ever since.
He said it was wasted money, as the road was of no use, the land 'wouldn't feed a goat' and dissects his land.
But it was money he was prepared to pay. Until now.
Mr Innes has just received notification from the Department of Lands that within three years the annual rental will rise to $350 a year.
"This is just so stupid," he said.
When Mr Innes first moved to the area, the road reserve provided access to one property beyond.
Now, he says, there are up to 15 separate residences beyond his property, and they all use his road reserve as access.
Although he has no issue with his neighbours, he feels it is wrong that he should be paying the rent when he receives no benefit.
"I would like the road declared open, with either the council or the government taking it over," he said.
Mr Innes said he was not satisfied with changes the State Government had an- nounced for the lease of road reserves.
Under the changes, landowners are being offered the opportunity to buy or fence the land.
But Mr Innes said it would cost an estimated $10,000 to fence the property and it would then be cut in two. The other option, to buy the land, would leave his neighbours without access to their properties.
A spokesperson for the Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly, said Mr Innes should discuss his situation with the Department of Lands, as something may be able to be negotiated, such as the provision of an easement.
Mr Innes, however, said he had been to see the department at least four times and the 'best advice' he received was 'don't pay it'.