Pay for limes or it’s a crime

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - CHAR­LIE MCKIL­LOP

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.

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