Daryl Schofield has been told to remove non-native plants from a small park after complaints and an instruction from the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Other photos show Mr Schofield looking at the weed infestation, much of which he has cleared from around homes, a pile of mulch that he can no longer spread, and some of the rubbish he has collected from the park.
A RETIRED Padstow Heights man says he feels like he's been "kicked in the guts" after he was rebuked for 40 years of voluntary work clearing weeds and beautifying a small reserve on the edge of the Georges River National Park.
Daryl Schofield, 73, has been chipping away at blackberry vines, lantana bushes, morning glory vines and other invasive weeds from bushland near his Gwen Place home for over four decades.
Mr Schofield's creation of a manicured garden on Ron Clasper Reserve, which is part of the national park, has landed him in hot water.
"We created a little park, where I've also planted non-invasive shrubs and palms," he said.
"Over the years I've been praised by both Bankstown Council and the National Parks for the work I've done here.
"Now I'm the bad guy.
"I received a letter, after someone complained about my work."
Mr Schofield's letter from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), demands he stop clearing native vegetation, cease planting introduced species and no longer put mulch in the parkland.
"This was like a garbage tip, a fire hazard, when I first started tidying up the area," he said.
"We made this area a place where residents can enjoy, be proud of, instead of an overgrown, weed infested jungle."
A NPWS spokesperson said Mr Schofield was sent the letter after it received complaints.
"It is illegal to act without approval in planting or depositing anything within a national park," she said.
The spokesperson said that while NPWS was willing to work with neighbours to manage fuel loads along common boundaries, the establishment of manicured garden beds and the planting of introduced species was not appropriate.
"If neighbours have a bushfire risk, this should be raised with NPWS park staff or the Rural Fire Service," she said.
The NPWS has given Mr Schofield an opportunity to take away the non-native plants, which it plans to remove in the coming weeks.