Resident slapped $11k in council fines for filling 'derelict hole' outside home

The Melbourne man said a four-metre hole left by an uprooted tree was an eyesore and a hazard, so he cleaned it up. But council are not happy.

Melburnian Adam Marsal standing in front of the large hole he was fined $12,000 for (right) with infringement notices (inset).
Melburnian Adam Marsal copped almost $11,500 in fines for illegally filling a hole left by an uprooted tree, that he said he waited six months for council to do. Source: ACA

An Aussie man who "waited six months" to have his local council fill a huge hole left by an uprooted tree outside his home has been slapped with a $11,500 fine for eventually doing it himself.

Melbourne man Adam Marsal said he was slapped with the whopping penalty for dumping "illegal waste" into the ground — an act that Frankston City Council takes a "zero tolerance approach to" as it can have "detrimental impacts on the environment and the community".

Marsal, from the city's southeast, said when questioned by council he felt like he was a "murderer" facing criminal charges. He claimed the toppled tree left a hole in the ground four metres wide and two metres deep, and though he reported it to both the city and road authorities, "nothing happened" — so he "took it upon myself".

This is how Marsal left the spot - but council aren't happy. A grassy patch is seen with a barely noticeable hole.
This is how Marsal left the spot - but council aren't happy. Source: ACA

Marsal told A Current Affair that council decided he was being a "menace" for the move. "I cleaned all that up and yeah...they've fined me and given me notice to revert it back to what it was," he told A Current Affair, adding that he spent "thousands" tidying up the area.

"I bought turf, I bought soil. I waited six months for it to get cleaned up and nothing was happening." Marsal claims he used "soil and grass" to fill in the hole and also "brought in native plants" to line the area. But according to the City, that's "litter". He's now been ordered to revert the grassy patch to its "derelict" state.

Marsal said he felt interrogated during an interview with a council staffer in a compact room, with video of the hostile exchange later surfacing. Marsal and the staffer are heard bickering over the "relevance" of his personal details before the Melburnian pleads his case.

"I cleaned up the site, it used to be a f***ing derelict site full of s**t," he can be heard saying in the video. "You left a four metre hole in the ground so I cleaned it up."

A view of the hole before Marsal filled it.
A view of the hole before Marsal "tidied" it up. Source: ACA

The council staffer responded: "I didn't leave a hole anywhere". "Do you understand that to work on a road reserve, you need a permit? Do you understand that?" he asks.

"If I ask a government agency for assistance and nobody does anything, I don't then go and escalate the matter myself."

The council staffer said they did not "have any record" of Marsal's complaints over the former hole, to which he responded "how is that my responsibility?". The two then continue to disagree as the video continues.

Frankston City Council Mayor Nathan Conroy weighed in. He said council wouldn't allow residents to "fill holes on land that is not theirs". "It's very strange to me someone decided to fill a hole with illegal fill that has potentially detrimental impacts on the community," he said.

Frankston local being 'interrogated' in a council office.
The Frankston local said he felt "interrogated" by a council staffer during an interview. Source: ACA

A council spokesperson said "council takes a zero tolerance approach to illegal fill".

"Council promptly investigated the matter after it was reported by a concerned resident," they told Yahoo News Australia.

"Council has no record of being contacted regarding a hole at the subject location. Interviews are conducted in accordance with all relevant guidelines and legislative requirements. As this is an ongoing enforcement matter, Council will not be making any further comment."

A review of the infringement notices was sought by council, which was undertaken and upheld. They say Marsal can have the matters referred to court if he decides to take that course of action.

Marsal has been ordered to pay the $11,500 in fines, made up of two separate infringements, and revert the spot to its former state.

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