On February 5, the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times reported that a Newhaven man, Phillip Bagley, was seeking compensation from Bass Coast Council for an incident in which he alleged spray from an insecticide reached his house in Wencliff Court on January 18.
Mr Bagley told the Sentinel-Times he was still suffering from the after-effects of the poisoning, including shortness of breath and his lungs filling with a thick mucus, and his doctor had told him to pull out his vegetable garden in case it was contaminated. He said he was more concerned for others, with a primary school and other houses even closer to the oval.
Newhaven Primary School principal Andrew Strickland said the spraying had not affected the school. “Our school garden has been fully cleared of any impact. The Department of Primary Industries did a full investigation and found the council conduct was appropriate. We have had contact with the council and they have been very open.’’
In a letter to the Environment Protection Authority, which Mr Bagley copied to the Bass Coast Post, he stated that while trying to contact the council’s environment officer he was put through to another staff member “who spoke in a caustic manner and claimed that I complained all the time”.
In his letter, Mr Bagley asks if the EPA has the power to prosecute the council. “If not then could you point me to the agency that can as I will not rest until responsibility and appropriate penalties are decided.”
Mr Bagley has, however, made complaints against other institutions. The Education Department paid for a high fence between his property and Newhaven Primary School in response to his concerns about noise from the playground.
“Before using any chemical sprays, we always conduct a risk assessment and do pre-start checks to ensure conditions are suitable. In addition, we included an anti-drift agent, which helps to prevent the spray from drifting. We are very confident that the spray did not drift onto nearby properties.