At Hindmarsh Shire Council’s meeting last Wednesday, council voted in favour of declaring the laneway at the rear of the shops in Lloyd Street a public road and approved the officers of council to move forward with taking possession of the road under the Road Management Act and making it a council controlled road.
This follows a dispute with the owners of 90 Lloyd Street, who had constructed a fence across the the lane, that the community had used for more than 50 years. A public outcry followed the blocking of the lane with the fence resulting in council moving to take possession of the lane.
At the monthly meeting the public gallery had a number of people who wanted to contribute to the meeting. Mary Clarke was the first to speak in favour of the proposal (to reopen the lane) stating that the land value ( with reinstating the open laneway) at the rear of her two properties would not devalue their business plans if the proposal went ahead.
Deita Aschenbrenner then spoke against the proposal claiming that council is in breach of several laws and had not acted in accordance with their own plans. He suggested that there is no road because there is a fence that he has built and the fence changes the purpose of the land and council had no rights now that the fence is erected.
He also accused council of untimely action of their decision, that had incurred cost to them to remove the fence.
Mr Aschenbrenner also made several proposals to council on how they could manage truck deliveries, that included moving sheds at the bakery, purchasing land from the accountants to enable the widening of the lane of Wimmera Street and the construction of turning bays on other peoples properties.
Norm Aschenbrenner then spoke to council about the shops he had renovated and that council did not consider the economic impact on developing businesses in Dimboola. He argued that the shops are empty because the rent was too high.
He said, “nobody wanted to open a shop in Dimboola and he was unable to find tenants for his existing properties. The property of 90 Lloyd Street would allow the tenant to live on the premises while running a retail centre providing a cheap way of starting a business.”
He then threatened council that he will withdraw all his investment in Dimboola.
“If council proceeds with the proposal I will withdraw all my investments in Dimboola and take it somewhere else. Hindmarsh Shire will earn the reputation of being a poor place to invest in,” Norm Aschenbrenner claimed.
Ilsa Aschenbrener told council that they did not have any legal right with the proposal.
“If you check the website of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, it will tell you common law does not apply,” she said.
After a lot of quoting legal jargon Mrs Aschenbrenner accused council of preventing her developing a tourist attraction in the way of a butterfly enclosure.
Mayor Ron Ismay declared that there was enough discussion from the gallery and invited council to proceed.
Cr Deb Nelson moved that the recommendation be approved and was seconded by Cr Ron Lowe.
Cr Neson spoke on her motion saying, “some decisions council make do not always go in some people’s favour. The community had made it very clear to me that the road should remain. I am an elected representative to council for Dimboola and in such I must vote in accordance with what the community wants.”
“In this case the community expects me to vote for this proposal,” said Cr Nelson.
Cr Ron Lowe said, “I have spoken to a lot of people in Dimboola regarding this proposal and they were all in favour of it.”
Cr David Colbert asked Deita Aschenbrenner how he accessed the rear property to erect the fence.
“I use the existing road that leads up to my boundary marked in yellow on the map,” said Deita Aschenbrenner.
Kim Grey from the gallery tried to explain to Cr Colbert how they access the property without using the road.
The motion was carried unanimously, with all councillors in favour of the proposal.