Bay dispute turns even uglier

Published online: Jan 25, 2010 News Arthur Gorrie
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"It's only a matter of time before somebody is killed," Tin Can Bay houseboat resident Michael Walder said yesterday, as a new ugliness entered into one of the Bay's more serious neighbourhood disputes.

The conflict between a small group of Tin Can Bay landowners and others making lawful use of the Norman Point-Crab Creek foreshore turned even uglier when vandals, not necessarily associated in any way with the landowners, joined in the dispute and attacked vehicles owned by Michael, his wife Iris and their houseboat neighbour Rolland Neuhahn.

The houseboat owners say Tin Can Bay police appear helpless to investigate their complaints or those of foreshore picnickers.

However, more extreme action yesterday appears to indicate the involvement of another element altogether in the dispute.

Michael and Iris own a legally approved Harbours and Marine mooring just offshore, but have opted to exercise their rights to pull up in the tidal zone, rather than impede the view of people they say are sensitive about boats.

And they say Gympie Regional Council, taking the land owners' side, appears unaware that it has no jurisdiction over the tidal area, including some car park and other improvements council has made in tidal areas of Norman Point.

They say one councillor has even criticised yachties and houseboat residents for being there at all, despite their major contribution to the economy of the area.

"We tried shifting nearer the foreshore so we wouldn't upset people, but the next day two people from the council came out.

"We shifted again. Someone called the council and the police."

Mr Neuhahn said his car was also sprayed with obscenities yesterday.

The Walders say another near neighbour has experienced similar problems, with his car even being set on fire, his tyres slashed and his boat cut adrift while he was in hospital.

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