Pay for limes or it’s a crime
SELLING limes on the side of the road seemed like a good idea to three local youngsters - until the Cairns Regional Council put the squeeze on their illegal activities.
The roadside stall on Port Douglas Rd was set up by brothers Sam, 14, Harry, 12 and nine-year-old Tom to sell limes they had picked, washed and packed from their grandfather’s trees.
But last week Harry was manning the stall when a council local laws officer approached him to advise the activity on council land without a permit was illegal.
The boys’ mother, Tess Walker, said she at first she had been philosophical about the reasons behind the intervention to stop her sons selling limes on public land.
“We felt the council could have turned a blind eye but when it happened I told my sons this is just one of life’s lessons, you just have to cop it sweet and move on,” Mrs Walker said.
“I explained the council lady had a job to do and she’s got rules to follow, too.”
But when the incident hit the media, the Cairns Regional Council moved to clarify its officer’s actions had been motivated by safety issues.
Mrs Walker said the location set back from Port Douglas Rd, in a 60km/h speed zone, next to a pedestrian pathway outside the Treetops Resort was “perfectly safe”.
“I was irate when I read in the paper where the council officer was quoted as saying she was particularly concerned for my son’s safety,” Mrs Walker said.
“I thought, ’Oh c’mon, you can’t paint the negligent parent defence here’.
“As a mother, my first and only consideration is the safety of my children so to be told I had put them in an unsafe position was very upsetting.
“It was very, very disappointing for the council to take that angle.”
Mrs Walker said it was a shame the boys’ holiday venture was cut short as it was harmless fun which helped instil the value of work.
Despite the setback, she was confident they would be “conjuring up” their next project before too long.
“At least they are doing something constructive and outdoors instead of playing computer games and looking at the square box all day,” she said.