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Tow truck driver in limbo over City of Mandurah council parking regulations

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A tow truck operator who says he has already lost 40 per cent of his business due to COVID-19 remains in limbo after a months-long battle with the City of Mandurah to park his vehicle on his property.

 

At their meeting last week, Mandurah councilllors were deadlocked on a request to allow Kaotiik Towing co-owner Shane Woods to park two tow trucks at his house on Copperfield Close in Greenfields.

 

They initially voted to reject conditional approval but then voted against refusing the application.

 

The City’s policies allow Mr Woods to park his trucks at his home, with about 20 other businesses operating in a similar way throughout Mandurah.

 

Mr Woods is seeking retrospective approval for two commercial vehicles after he was told he had to seek approval in February.

 

“I’m a secondary responder and I contract to emergency services,” he said.

 

“We do all the bad stuff, all the stuff that people really don’t want to see.”

 

Mr Woods said there were only three other trucks that did the same job.

 

“If I come down the road and it’s late, I turn my headlights off, I turn my truck off and roll down the street.

“My truck is no noisier than your standard family 4WD. It’s 18 months old.”

 

Mr Woods said driving to a warehouse would add time to his journey which would mean he would not meet his contracted time. He said if the council did not allow him to operate at any hour he may have to use a noisier truck.

“My other truck, that’s a F350 old school tow truck. That falls outside council’s guidelines of commercial vehicles, so I can use that and there’s nothing they can do about it,” he said.

 

“That vehicle is very, very noisy. I’m trying not to disturb the neighbours.”

 

Mr Woods said he would “potentially” appeal the matter with the State Administrative Tribunal, depending on the outcome.

 

“The vehicle is behind our gates. I don’t disturb anybody. I’m trying to earn a dollar. If I can’t earn a dollar, I can’t pay my rates,” he said.

 

With less cars on the road due to coronavirus, Mr Woods said he had already lost 40 per cent of his business.

The City advertised his application and received five submissions, with one in support, one neutral and three objecting.

Those against Mr Woods’ proposal raised concerns about noise, safety, hours and visual amenity.

 

City staff had recommended approving Mr Woods’ applications with conditions including that he not drive the trucks to or from the lot between 10pm and 6.30am.

 

Councillors had already deferred the matter from their March 24 meeting to May and after a series of votes and more than an hour of debate, they decided to delay it again until June.

 

Mr Woods is currently exempt from council approval until 90 days after the current State of Emergency is in effect.

Council narrowly voted down conditional approval, with only Mayor Rhys Williams, Deputy Mayor Caroline Knight and councillors Peter Rogers, Matt Rogers and Ahmed Zilani voting to approve it.

 

The meeting then descended into confusion as staff scrambled to craft a motion to reject the application.

 

A visibly exacerbated Mayor implored councillors to allow Mr Woods to have the vehicles at his property.

 

“The planning policies clearly ... allow a commercial vehicle in this place. I understand that there may be some issues for the residents living next door but that’s why the conditions are in place,” Mr Williams said.

 

Councillors eventually compromised by delaying the matter for a month, with a workshop to be held before then.

 

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