News

Good Samaritan fined $7500 after towing bogged vehicles

Doug Waters from Burrum Heads with the tractor he used to tow vehicles bogged in the national park.
Doug Waters from Burrum Heads with the tractor he used to tow vehicles bogged in the national park. Alistair Brightman

A GOOD Samaritan who says he has towed more than 200 bogged cars from roads in the Burrum Coast National Park in the past 20 years has been fined $7500 for damaging the park during the rescues.

Douglas George Waters, 71, appeared in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Monday charged with six counts of breaching a restriction on cultural and natural resources protected areas and one count of driving an unregistered tractor.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell convicted Mr Waters on two counts of damaging the national park but dropped the five other charges.

He was fined $7500 - and he may be up for a further $15,000 payment because of a hole he dug while fixing a road.

Mr Waters has lived on a property in the heart of the Burrum Coast National Park for 25 years and, under the Queensland National Government in 1988, was given permission to maintain the isolated roads leading to his home.

The previous state Labor government cancelled that permission.

Mr Waters said outside court that the roads had since deteriorated and people could easily become stuck.

He told the Chronicle outside court he was dumbfounded by the lack of common sense.

"At the moment I can't tow anyone out," he said.

"If you are unlucky enough to be bogged and it's a Friday afternoon or out of normal hours DERM (now Environment and Heritage Protection) has no after-hours number to help which could result in your situation becoming life-threatening."

A Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing representative said Mr Waters had been convicted of contravening the Nature Conservation Act.

"Damaging a national park is a serious offence," the representative said.

"This illegal act resulted in five species of ground cover and 27 species of trees and shrubs being damaged or destroyed, including a Melaleuca cheelii (grey tea tree) which is a rare species."

Mr Waters dug a hole on national park land three years ago and used the soil to fill in the heavily damaged road.

Since then, floods had filled the hole with water, making it a good source for the Rural Fire Service, Mr Waters said.

He may be ordered to pay $15,000 to the department for digging the hole.

Mr Waters' home was the first one built in Burrum Heads and is shown on a map dated in 1888.

Topics:  burrum hervey bay magistrate hervey bay magistrates court national park



Loft predicts 'huge benefits' from timber-first policy

The Fraser Coast Regional Council has become one of the first councils in Queensland to adopt a Wood Encouragement Policy.

Fraser Coast is the first in Queensland to adopt a WEP.

UPDATE: First council to adopt 'timber first' policy

The Fraser Coast Regional Council has become one of the first councils in Queensland to adopt a Wood Encouragement Policy.

Follow our liveblog of the first council meeting of 2017.

Waterholes: Fraser Coast hidden gems to cool off at

NATURAL BEAUTY: Tranquil Wongi Waterholes in the Wongi State Forest.

Here are some of the best swimming holes to check out.

Local Partners

Hervey Bay group to do final act of kindness before closing

"It was formed mainly to assist with camaraderie among ourselves and to support local charities in the Bay.”


Noll meltdown won't affect Gympie Oz Day concert

Shannon Noll

Photo Contributed

Shannon Noll is still expected to perform in Gympie next Thursday

What's on: 11 gigs coming up at the Brolga

Xavier Rudd will be performing a benefit concert at the Brolga Theatre on January 21.

There's a gig for everyone with lots happening in coming months.

Why platinum selling Xavier Rudd won't charge to play M'boro

Australian singer songwriter Xavier Rudd at Bluesfest 2015

All funds raised at the show will go towards community support.

Why Emma Watson turned down Cinderella

Emma Watson in a scene from the movie Beauty and the Beast.

HARRY Potter star has standards when it comes to Disney princesses.

Wonder Woman a ‘disjointed disaster’, says DC insider

Gal Gadot in a scene from the movie Wonder Woman.

INSIDER says the much-hyped blockbuster will disappoint.

Kid nails Swift impersonation

Seven-year-old Xia Vigor nails Taylor Swift impersonation on the Philippine talent show Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids.

TAYLOR Swift has a seven-year-old doppelganger.

Ariana Grande 'hardest working 23-year-old on Earth'?

Ariana Grande

Not everyone was impressed with Grande’s self-proclaimed work ethic

Why The Walking Dead cast are paid a pittance

Despite massive ratings the cast haven't been shown the money

50 Shades Dornan on why he hates the film

Dornan and Johnson’s frequent sex scenes were ‘awkward’ to film. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Jamie Dornan doesn’t blame you for hating 50 Shades

Sunday auction for historical home

Former Catholic school sure to attract spirited bidding

Looking back, looking ahead in Noosa

NEVER-ENDING GLORY: Looking towards Laguna Bay and Hastings St from Noosa National Park.

Natural appeal of Noosa continues to attract buyers

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

'Difficult times': Rental prices tipped to increase in 2017

GREAT BUYS: There are some great rentals and houses to buy in South Gladstone. Head to gladstoneobserver.com.au for the top 10 homes under $100 to rent right now in the Gladstone region.

Investors may soon see a "profitable return” on properties.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!