Poisoning of plants news to banned builder

A DEREGISTERED builder yesterday said he knew nothing about plants being poisoned outside a Walwa home.

Grevilleas and banksias in front of the former bank branch have been killed and other plants damaged.

The property was the subject of a botched renovation that led to the deregisteration of Walwa builder Bernie Cook.

Mr Cook said he had been working at Wangaratta and knew nothing about plants being destroyed at the property owned by Portland man Ken Ross.

“I would not have a clue,” Mr Cook said.

Mr Ross has reported the damage, discovered on Monday, to police.

Leading Sen-Constable Stephen Harvey, of Walwa, said he was investigating and was keen to hear of any suspicious activity near the house.

Mr Ross hired Mr Cook to renovate his property, which formerly housed a WAW Credit Union branch.

But after investigations by the Towong Shire Council, and Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal hearings, Mr Cook was deregistered as a domestic builder and ordered to pay $1048 in costs.

Mr Cook was also found guilty of six charges which included failing to comply with building regulations — carrying out work without a permit and failing to do work in a “competent manner and to a professional standard”.

Mr Ross said the damage, which including uprooting and branches being snapped, was disappointing.

“The plants were there to add to the attractiveness of the town and someone thought making the town a bit uglier would be payback for me,” Mr Ross said.

“That mentality puts the town in a poor light.”