MRRA head agrees to back off staffer during court appearance

THE president of Melville’s ratepayers association, Gary Crawford, has agreed to stay away from a council staffer after she sought a restraining order against him.

The environmental officer applied for the order after spotting Mr Crawford outside her Rockingham house recently.

He had driven from Melville to get the number plate of a council-owned vehicle after receiving a tip-off environmental employees were taking vehicles home and causing a shortage for other departments.

While in the street Mr Crawford put the association’s newsletter in  neighbouring letterboxes, complaining about the poisoning of a grassed amenity area in the Alfred Cove nature reserve.

• Gary Crawford leaves Fremantle magistrate’s court with his wife. Photo by Stephen Pollock

• Gary Crawford leaves Fremantle magistrate’s court with his wife. Photo by Stephen Pollock

For the last 18 months, Mr Crawford has been doggedly pursuing the council, furious it replaced the grass with sedges and natives.

At the applications hearing in the Fremantle magistrate’s court, Mr Crawford agreed not to contact the staffer again and the MRO application was dropped.

Mr Crawford says he doesn’t regret the incident and won’t resign.

“I had a few flyers in the back of the car, so I decided to letterbox them to raise the profile of the issue,” he says.

“What I do regret is that the city has poisoned 600sqm of grass at the entrance to an A-class reserve and they have not been held accountable.”

Melville council CEO Shayne Silcox says staff have to be protected and he believes the issue is closed.

“The city does need to protect the health and wellbeing of staff in the workplace, like every employer should, and will assist the officer in enforcing the sanctions applied in as far as it relates to her employer/employee relationship with the city of Melville,” Dr Silcox said.

The same morning, Mr Crawford attended another hearing at the magistrates court: Margaret Bunyan, a neighbour of a Bicton property he co-owns, is seeking a restraining order against him, connected to an ongoing dispute over a dividing fence.

MRRA member Mark McLerie was also in court the same morning, but he said he was seeking a restraining order unconnected with the association or Melville council.

He said the council is trying to discredit the MRRA and it was up to Mr Crawford if he wanted to remain as president.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

31 Shore Solutions 10x3

One response to “MRRA head agrees to back off staffer during court appearance

  1. Actually the headline is not correct – as article clarifies down in the text, the Court did not order anything and the applications were dropped. No hard evidence was presented suggesting Mr Crawford did anything unlawful.

    Readers should reflect back on the Chook’s previous well written 23 August 2013 article on another example of the City’s use of restraining orders (https://heraldonlinejournal.com/2013/08/23/8314/); see our Facebook page for our commentary on this.

    Please support our efforts to improve Local Government transparency and accountability.

    For more detail on the City of Melville Residents and Ratepayers Association contact us at 9330 4350, melville.residents@outlook.com or at https://www.facebook.com/MelvilleResidentsRatepayersAssoc/.

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