MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has apologised for “the harm suffered” by television and radio presenter, comedian, producer, author and screenwriter Steve Vizard and his wife Sarah for a “false statement” made by the council and planning compliance manager Paul Lewis.
The statement, alleging that the Vizards “or any other person on their behalf, had undertaken earthworks which ‘effectively created a dam within Waterfall Creek’”, Arthurs Seat was published on 15 December by the Herald-Sun and the online Leader newspapers.
The shire’s Christmas Eve retraction said it had told Mr Vizard, who is also a lawyer, that it would be making no further comment on the issue “prior to its final resolution”.
The shire’s statement, headed “retraction”, reads: “On 15 December 2020, the Herald Sun newspaper and numerous related news publications and online sites published an article relating to Steve and Sarah Vizard and legal proceedings commenced by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council concerning a property at Arthurs Seat in Victoria. The article quoted Mr Paul Lewis, planning compliance manager, on behalf of the council.
“The statement made by Mr Lewis and council that Mr and Mrs Vizard, or any other person on their behalf, had undertaken earthworks which ‘effectively created a dam within Waterfall Creek’ is untrue. The council and Mr Lewis acknowledge the harm suffered by Mr and Mrs Vizard by the making and wide publication of the false statement, and the council and Mr Lewis unreservedly and sincerely retract and apologise for the false statement.
“The council and Mr Lewis have provided undertakings to Mr and Mrs Vizard and the owner of the property that they will refrain from making any further public comments in relation to the matter prior to its final resolution.”