With police watching on contractors took away piles of rubbish from a hoarder’s front yard as the long-running Windred Street saga took another turn on Thursday.
Orange City Council gained yet another legal order to remove the rubbish after complaints from neighbours about the smell and condition of the property.
Council has been attempting to tidy the property for about 20 years.
Homeowner Sophie Kjoller watched on as the workers took away bags of rotting rubbish.
The clean-up began at 8.30am and continued for several hours.
The operation was completed without any obstruction, unlike a clean-up effort at the property in 2010 where an arrest was made.
Police Sergeant Brenden Turner said officers attended the scene to “prevent any breach of the peace”.
“They [the clean-up workers] have permission to occupy the premises,” he said.
He said the legal order only allowed for the removal of specified items from the front yard and did not include cleaning up the fire-damaged house on the property.
I’m just so heartbroken over the whole thing.Sophie Kjoller
Ms Kjoller said she was upset about the clean-up, complaints from neighbours and council actions over many years.
“I’m just so heartbroken over the whole thing,” she said.
She said she was concerned workers had removed personal property including bags of vegetables and cans of food she had stored outside of a caravan in the driveway.
“I don’t think pensioners should be treated like that,” she said. “I’ve been there for 47 or 48 years now.”
She said she did not want to get rid of two cars stored in the front yard.
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said it was the latest of several clean-ups at the property.
“Council aims to respond to the concerns of neighbours and works within legal channels to deal with situations where there are health concerns,” he said.
“The legal checks and balances are significant and can take long periods of time. After serving appropriate legal notices, council staff and contractors began a clean-up of the front yard.
“Council contractors only removed material where there was an environmental health risk.”
He said the owner would be billed for the clean-up.
“In situations where accounts are not paid, debts can be listed against the legal title of the property so that council is paid when the property is sold.”