A FAMILY with their hearts in the right place are fighting to save a children’s animal farm they have illegally set up at Burnside.
The 18ha block is owned by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and leased to a third party.
Wayne and Julie Williams have been working on the land, which is adjacent to their property, for about 12 months after seeing its potential.
Mr Williams said that before they took over the block, the grass was 2.4 metres high and a fire hazard.
“It was frustrating to watch this prime piece of land go to waste and become an eyesore,” he said.
“The tenant has neglected it, but to look at it now you wouldn’t know it was the same block of land.”
Over the past year, Mr Williams, an arborist, has invested $20,000 in setting up the animal farm, which includes 29 rescued goats, a llama, two roosters and four ducks.
He has called it the Monkeys Learning Farm and plans to introduce more livestock before opening the farm to the public to raise money for charity.
Originally Mr Williams set up the farm to help his six-year-old son Zeke, who was diagnosed with Minimal Sensory Control Disorder last July.
Zeke was experiencing weakness on the left side of his body, had difficulty speaking and was not developing at the rate he should for his age.
“Since helping his dad set up the farm and through his interaction with the animals, Zeke’s physical movements and speech have improved drastically,” Mrs Williams said.
“He has come a long way. He now talks clearer and is stronger. His paediatrician is hopeful he will no longer need rehabilitation.”
However, the family’s efforts and big dreams may be brought to an abrupt halt. Transport and Main Roads has told the Williams to stop trespassing and remove all livestock.
“They have been showing up for months now warning us we are trespassing and asking us to leave,” Mrs Williams said.
“We know what we are doing is illegal but it doesn’t bother us, we’re not going anywhere.
“I think we have done them a favour.”
A Transport and Main Roads spokesman said the land had to be vacated due to its future purpose.
Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington said he sympathised with the family. “I’m happy to help them find land they can legally utilise,” he said.
“It was frustrating to watch this prime piece of land go to waste and become an eyesore.”
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