GRASSY: Geoff Ricketts is upset the council is not maintaining an  footpath known for brown snakes.
GRASSY: Geoff Ricketts is upset the council is not maintaining an footpath known for brown snakes. Scott Powick

Overgrown grass leaves residents fearful of snakes

TUCKED between two homes in Tweed Heads South is a walkway that Jeff Ricketts believes could lead to tragedy if something does not change. 

The narrow, unpaved lane connects Seaview and Marie Sts, but with infrequent maintenance, Mr Ricketts said the pathway becomes a jungle of chest-high grass and weeds, creating a habitat for deadly brown snakes.  

Shortly after the Tweed Daily News visited Seaview St on Wednesday, council workers arrived with whipper snippers to cut back the vegetation for the first time since October. 

Mr Ricketts lives just one house away from the laneway, and said while he was happy the strip had been cleared up, three months between maintenance was too long, and long waits been an on-going problem.

"They're simply not mowing it nearly often enough,” he said.

"They've been neglecting it badly for so many years I can't remember.

"I walked on a brown snake there once, and my dog did a few years ago - the first step he took on the grass there was a big brown snake.” 

A Tweed Shire Council spokesman said the strip was maintained approximately every three months, as often as any other unformed road in the shire. 

"Council maintains these road reserve areas are much as possible, given resource and funding constraints,” he said.

"This particular area was last mowed on January 17, and before that October 25, September 6 and May 3.” 

Mr Ricketts, who has lived in the street for nearly 30 years, said that was not good enough.   

"I know they're really flat out during summer - bit there's no excuse,” he said.  

"It's a tiny, tiny job. One man could do it with a whipper snipper in 15 minutes.” 

"To me they've got to prioritise it during summer because there's no footpath there; there's no bitumen, no concrete. It's a weed jungle and because they don't maintain it, it just gets worse and worse and worse. 

"It's hardly a national issue, but if someone gets bitten by a snake then it's a tragedy.”