Most people who come to live on our islands get to enjoy the very best of lives and island life is everything they expected it to be.
For others, life is a continual torment filled with trepidation and fear.
So, how come life on our islands can be so good for some, and so terrifying for others.
It has everything to do with your neighbours.
The Friendly Bay Islander’s recent Zero Tolerance feature has brought to light some amazing and, sometimes frightening, stories of what it is like to live in our island community.
We have received many calls and emails and we have gone to meet some of the people involved.
Many of them are literally scared for their lives.
And it is all because of ‘neighbours’ either next door or just down the street.
Fortunately, this doesn’t happen in every street, but it happens in some.
And, in just about every instance, the people who are disrupting other people’s lives, are renters.
They don’t own the property they live in and some of them have little regard for it, or their neighbours.
In just about every one of these instances, the renters are either ‘on the dole’ or are on a ‘pension’.
Few of them, it seems, have working jobs.
Many of them are involved in one or several of the following:
• Drug use
• Drug selling
• Alcoholic binges
• Domestic violence
• Scare tactics
Not only that, some seem to have a grasp of the law that works in ‘their’ favour.
The calls we have received have come from all the islands.
The situation is worse for many older single women who live on their own with troublesome neighbours.
One woman told us that she was contemplating leaving because her life has become ‘unbearable’ thanks to new neighbours who moved in several months ago.
“They seem to think I have reported them, when it is their own activities that are bringing about police and other attentions.
“I have been threatened, sworn at, had rocks thrown on my roof.
Another person, again a single older woman, told us that she also receives similar threats by people who have little or no social skills other to get what they want via threats and bullying.
And, invariably, getting what they want means being allowed to continue their illegal activities unhindered.
Another island person lives in fear of pit bull type dogs that the owner has threatened to ‘set’ upon her.
One lady told us she believes her neighbours have a gun and she, and other neighbours, have heard it being ‘fired’ late at night.
Keen observers have noticed activity at night when it comes to island ‘movements’.
“We have seen small tinnies come across to our island and a small exchange takes place with the craft heading back from whence it came.”
Many of these instances have been reported to police and in some cases, they have succeeded in having people charged and removed on the islands.
Many others escape jurisdiction because, according to the law, they literally need to be ‘caught in the act’.
The good thing, however, is that in many cases some of the fear and scare tactics end when the person leaves the rented property.
And there-in is the cause and the cure for our island and community dilemma.
If the property was not rented to such people in the first place, island life would be more peaceful and prosperous.
In recent times Island police have gathered support from the real estate industry to improve their renting skills when it comes to tenant selection.
However, the problem is difficult to correct if the property owner is a private renter who has little scruples other than profit when it comes to placing tenants.
One particular property owner on Macleay Island is believed to control approximately 15 island homes and most of his tenants have connections to crime histories and neighbourly mayhem.
Even he was set back recently when one of his ‘tenants’ was behind in his rent and threatened to ‘burn your house’ to the ground.
What goes around comes around in a form of poetic justice.
Most people who rent are good, law abiding people and are good neighbours.
As is the case in many other situations, it is the ‘minority’ who spoil it for the rest.
Good on you good islanders. Keep being observant and keep reporting what you see!