SWAN Hill Rural City Council has won a four-year battle over illegal landfill works at a Robinvale waste management business.Geoffrey and Linda Finch obtained a council permit in 2008 to operate a materials recycling centre at a Moore St property in the town's industrial area.
A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing was told Mr Finch sorted and recycled metal brackets and training wires.
They were collected by truck from vineyards where old winegrape or dried fruit trellises had been bulldozed and burnt in order to allow the erection of new trellises for new plantings of table grapes.
The primary activity was the sale of material as scrap metal, but other materials - including building demolition rubble, old tyres, drums and batteries - also were brought to the site for storage, sorting, sale or disposal.
Senior VCAT Member Russell Byard ordered the Finches to apply for a planning permit for a bund wall along the western boundary and a fill and hard stand area inside the front gate within 60 days.
In that time they must also construct 1.8m screening along the eastern and southern boundaries to shield the site from public view.
Mr Byard awarded costs against the Finches, saying they had been aware of the contraventions for some time and ignored repeated verbal and written warnings.
''The matters have been neglected,'' he said.
''Feeling peeved on the basis of suspicions the actions taken by the responsible authority arise from complaints from commercial rivals does not amount to a justification.
''The respondents have more or less compelled the responsible authority to take action in circumstances where they have not responded to advice, requests and threats.''
Mr Byard declined requests by the council to order that the Finches immediately stop using the land for the collection and storage of refuse or waste, remove all non-recyclable material from the land to be disposed of at a licensed landfill, and design and construct a stormwater drainage system for the site.
Acting chief executive officer David Leahy said the council was pleased with the orders it had been granted.
''VCAT has left the door open for further enforcement should a planning permit not be sought (for filling and levelling land and the construction of a bund) within 60 days,'' he said.