Push to reclaim costs

DIVIDE: Leon Murray stands out the front of his block, which he is attempting to subdivide, with a copy of documents from his court case.
DIVIDE: Leon Murray stands out the front of his block, which he is attempting to subdivide, with a copy of documents from his court case.

North Shields resident Leon Murray is trying to reclaim $5500 his wife paid to the Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council to settle an outstanding court order from the Environment, Resources and Development Court.

In December 2017, Mr Murray’s wife Marlene paid a $5500 settlement to the council to pay off court costs and close the dispute after a consultant estimated Mr Murray owed the council $8000 in costs.

“The courts had told Leon he had to pay the costs...(I paid because) Leon was always sure they were in the wrong and he wasn’t going to pay it,” Mrs Murray said.

Mr Murray has been involved in a legal dispute with the council since 2008 regarding the classification of land he owns in North Shields and the inability to get separate titles for land he wishes to divide.

A site history report conducted in 2006 showed lead and zinc contamination on the land, which Mr Murray was attempting to divide.

As a result, conditions were put on the lots, which meant they could only be used for small-scale commercial or retail uses.

Mr Murray has taken the council to court multiple times to attempt to change the conditions on the land and after losing an appeal in 2017 was ordered to pay the council’s court costs.

The council’s development and environmental services manager Leith Blacker said the conditions were there to protect future users of the land.

Mr Blacker said the contamination levels were “quite minute” but they were above the accepted levels for residential blocks.

Lower Eyre Peninsula mayor Julie Low said the council had the same consistent requirements for the land, which had been upheld by a number of court cases.

“As for site contamination, council’s position has been upheld by court,” Ms Low said.

“The position is quite clear...it has not changed over the years.”

Mr Murray said he was seeking legal advice and would continue in his attempts to divide the land.

The council voted against returning the $5500 to Mr Murray.