Hernes trucks parked on the disputed Council land in Hollingsworth St.
Hernes trucks parked on the disputed Council land in Hollingsworth St.

Trucks give resident cold shoulder

A dispute about parking has resulted in threats, intimidation and an AVO against a South Lismore resident.

The man, who doesn’t wish to be named, believes that Hernes Freight Service is illegally parking up to 40 semi trailers on land that is owned by Lismore City Council in Hollingsworth St and zoned for recreational use.

Lismore Council’s assets manager Scott Turner agreed that “the assertion of the resident is technically correct” but went on to say that “the reality is that the land has not in the past been used as a recreation area.”

“The operation that is now known as Hernes Transport has existed on that site since 1985. In that time there have been many changes to relevant legislation. Council sought to resolve this matter in 2007 through an amendment to its LEP. However, the Department of Planning did not agree with Council’s proposed solution and required a further process to resolve the matter,” Mr Turner said.

Paul Pellandine, the lawyer representing the South Lismore man, has requested a copy of any lease between Hernes and Council, but Council has not produced one.

“Mr Herne claims to have a lease from Lismore Council, however Council advise they have no lease or licence for the land in question. If there is a lease or licence or agreement then the current use is prohibited by the zoning. This means a lease or licence has been entered into illegally,” Mr Pellandine said. “Council have written to our client and conducted an examination of the area regarding oil spills etc. What we cannot work out is why the land is being used for this purpose and what if any rent or monies are changing hands. The public are now being denied access to this land by Mr Herne.

“My client has young children who have attempted to utilise this land for its zoned purpose and to access the nearby riverbank but have been discouraged to do so because of the claim by Mr Herne that it is private land.”

Mr Herne recently sought an AVO against the South Lismore man to try and stop him entering the land. A magistrate in the Lismore Local Court issued an interim AVO on Tuesday but said, under the current zoning, the man had a right to enter the land for recreational purposes.

The man is now seeking an AVO against various people at Hernes, claiming they have been parking their trucks outside his house at 3am and leaving on the refrigeration, and other intimidating tactics.

Lismore Council has begun a process to reclassify the land from ‘community’ to ‘operational’ to address the situation, which will involve public hearings and an opportunity for the community to have a say.

Scott Turner said Council had tried unsuccessfully to mediate between the two parties.

“The outcome of the public exhibition and hearing process must be determined before Council decides what further action it will take in this matter,” he said.

The Echo attempted to speak to Hernes, but nobody was available for comment.


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