Friday, June 15, 2007

MPA Williams cuts boundary fence

There's never a shortage of problems on the farm, but I can do without ones generated needlessly by other people. I had a phone call at 7.30 this morning while I was sitting at my computer getting ready for a busy day. A neighbour rang to say that five of our horses were on an adjoining property. My wife and I raced off to see what had happened and we found the 'herd' enjoying itself in new surroundings.
Needless to say, they were quite a handful to get back where they belonged and then we had to work out how they had 'escaped'. It soon became evident!
The fence had been cut by employees of a water monitoring consulting firm MPA Williams, to drill a bore to monitor ground water flows on the land we lease which is owned by a sand extraction company. They had 'repaired' the high tensile barbed wire fence with very fine wire, rather like something that might be used on an old fashioned fuse.
Four hours later, after having moved the horses to where they should be and repaired the fence with wire strainers and replacement wire more suited to the task, I emailed MPA Williams with an invoice for the work which had to be carried out because of their inability to do the job properly.
The response was from a Peter Reid, who presumably was in charge of the crew who undertook the drilling and cut the fence. He said 'When the installation was carried out we were not permitted to access the property through existing gates, and were therefore required to cut the fence to gain access. We were not happy with this.
Nevertheless we carried out our work and repairs were carried out to the fence to the best of our ability. It appears that the repair has been adequate up till now
Well the repair clearly was not adequate. We had not run cattle or horses on the property for some six months because of drought conditions, so the pathetic quality of the fence 'repair' was not obvious.
Why on earth the decision was made to cut the fence when the crew had no tools or equipment to repair it is a demonstration of poor judgement at the very least. Rejoining the barbed wire with baler twine would probably been more effective than the light gauge wire used - but that wouldn't have made the fence stock proof because the wires were not strained!
The company is fortunate that the fence cutting was not on a boundary adjoining a road. The implications of someone being killed by driving a car into a horse don't bear thinking about.
The principal of MPA Williams, Mr Paul Williams is reputed to be an honest and ethical man but he is not always aware of the actions of his staff.
Hopefully this matter can be resolved even though Mr Reid says 'We do not believe that we have been negligent in this instance.' and, at the moment, refuses to pay the invoice.

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