A mother-of-four has blasted her local council after being threatened with a $667 fine for letting her children play with a basketball hoop on the street of their quiet cul-de-sac.
Carmen Battams, who lives in the Gold Coast suburb of Bundall, was ‘taken aback’ when she was approached by a council officer on Wednesday and told to remove the hoop from the road or be fined.
Ms Battams’ four children – who are aged between 11 and 16 – spent no more than half an hour each day after school shooting hoops to let off some steam.
But after a mystery neighbour complained, the family has now been forced to remove the beloved hoop – something children in the area had played with daily for months.
‘They’re playing basketball, they’re not graffiting the neighbourhood. It’s just kids being kids,’ Ms Battams told Daily Mail Australia.
Carmen Battams was threatened with a $667 fine if she didn’t remove a basketball hoop (pictured) in her Gold Coast cul-de-sac – something her children played with each day
‘I was really shocked yesterday when a council officer turned up because there was no discussion about if we could roll it out to use it. It was just ”if it’s on the street we will fine you”.
‘The day we put it out there there was a police officer on the street and he thought it was a brilliant idea.’
Ms Battams said she didn’t know who complained about the hoop and that nobody in the neighbourhood had ever spoken to her about it.
The hoop sat at the end of the cul-de-sac and didn’t obstruct any passing vehicles that drove through the road.
‘I had no idea they weren’t allowed to play in the street, we are a bit disappointed,’ she said.
‘We are happy to remove it but at the same time we just feel like where does it end?
‘If kids can’t play basketball in the street what can they do?’
The mother was also shocked to hear from the council officer that if someone hadn’t complained nobody would have arrived to threaten her with the fine.
‘I just thought that contradicted it. It doesn’t really line up with their reasons for a fine,’ she said.
‘We don’t think we’re above the law, it’s just that there was no room for discussion.
Ms Battams (pictured with her four children) said her kids played with the hoop for around half an hour each day after school
‘The kids have had a difficult year with home-schooling (due to COVID-19) and that little bit of freedom in the afternoon let them shake off the day.’
The family of six had moved to the cul-de-sac so their children would be able to play in a safer environment.
With coronavirus restrictions most community and school sport had been cancelled, leaving Ms Battams’ children itching to get out and exercise.
The only other place the hoop could fit was in a small space out the front of their family home which Ms Battams said echoed so loudly it would be more of an inconvenience to neighbours.
The mother said the council should instead be looking at fixing issues in the community rather than threatening large fines over something as simple as a basketball hoop.
‘We don’t want everyone to lose their hoops but we want people to be aware that they can be fined – and a bit of common sense from the council,’ Ms Battams said.
A spokesperson for the Gold Coast City Council said objects like hoops on a road were considered an ‘interference’.
‘The storing of basketball hoops and other goods on the road or footway is unlawful and deemed an ‘Interference with the Road’ under Local Law 11. If found in breach, a person may be liable to an on the spot fine of $667.00,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Regarding the use of cul de sacs, the Queensland Police Service regulates the use of roads under the QLD Traffic Regulations 1962.’
The hoop sat at the end of the cul-de-sac and didn’t obstruct any passing vehicles