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Red tape halts work

Friday, 22nd December, 2017

Hinton’s Earthworks Director Jim Hinton with his brother John attending to a client’s front yard. Hinton’s Earthworks Director Jim Hinton with his brother John attending to a client’s front yard.

By Myles Burt

A local landscaper says red tape and fees are preventing him from cleaning up the city’s weed-laden footpaths.

A council official last week pinged Hinton’s Earthworks for not complying with regulations, and fined owner Jim Hinton $275.

Mr Hinton was also ordered to stop work halfway through the job, but he refused because of the hazards the site would pose to pedestrians if he left it unfinished.

“I can’t stop, because my insurance company would shoot me for leaving the footpath open for people to fall in,” Mr Hinton told the BDT.

He usually has to pay $120 to ‘Dial before you Dig’ to make sure he doesn’t hit any underground infrastructure.

But the City Council told Mr Hinton that he now must get an RMS certifier to place road closure and roadwork signs up when he attends to footpaths.

This would cost about $280.

He must also submit a $100 plan 14 days before the job.

Mr Hinton says his service works on a day-by-day basis, making the 14-day lead-in time impossible.

He said he had never had to comply with these standards in the 25 years he’s worked, and doesn’t understand why Council is requesting them now.

“That’s $500 a customer has to pay before I can even take my bobcat off the trailer,” he said.

“It’s unnecessary because I have to pass that cost onto the client who won’t pay it anyway, and none of the footpaths get cleaned up.”

Mr Hinton said he shouldn’t have to comply with the Roads Act 1993 (Section 138 Works and Structures) as the City Council has asked, when attending to footpaths as it only references specifically to roadworks.

Hinton’s Earthworks have a service based on curbing, paving, landscaping and site clearing.

Broken Hill City Council responded by stating that the nature strip was being excavated without Council’s consent and without a traffic control plan for pedestrians.

Council spokesperson said machinery was parked up on the nature strip, insufficient safety signage was in place around the work site and work was accordingly stopped.

Council asked Mr Hinton to fill in a Construction of Private Works form and provide other  documentation.

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