Battlers’ pool lands pair in hot water

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
The College Grove husband and wife were granted spent convictions in Bunbury Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Camera IconThe College Grove husband and wife were granted spent convictions in Bunbury Magistrates Court on Thursday. Credit: South Western Times

A College Grove husband and wife described as “good Aussie battlers” have avoided significant fines after building a swimming pool and patio in their backyard without council approvals.

The man and woman were granted spent convictions in Bunbury Magistrates Court on Thursday when both pleaded guilty to two counts each of carrying out building work for which a permit was not in effect.

Both also pleaded guilty to a further two counts each of carrying out a development in an area subject to a local planning scheme otherwise than in accordance with provisions of the scheme.

City of Bunbury officers first inspected the St Peters Green home on December 18 when it was discovered the home owners had constructed a patio and pool without obtaining development approvals.

Officers wrote warning letters to the couple on numerous occasions, asking the man and woman to obtain retrospective development approvals.

After the couple failed to obtain the approvals, a final building order was issued in May.

The court was told on Thursday that the couple eventually obtained the approvals in June when both developments were approved without any changes needed.

A City prosecutor said parliament had put in “stringent” penalties for building permits, in particular around pools due to the potential of drownings.

The maximum penalty for constructing a swimming pool without approval is $200,000.

But the prosecutor conceded the offending was at the lower end of the scale with no circumstances of aggravation.

He said to “their credit” the couple had obtained the necessary approvals and described them as otherwise good Aussie battlers.

Magistrate Evan Shackleton said a letter provided by the couple explained that an illness had delayed the homeowners from taking more swift action and they were put in a difficult and “perhaps exceptional” situation.

Both were fined $700 each and ordered to each pay costs of $750.

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