SHELLHARBOUR City Council has threatened legal action against a Yallah resident unless she forks out thousands of dollars to remove a shipping container abandoned in Lake Illawarra for 18 months.
However, one of the city's councillors yesterday said the threat was "a rather heavy-handed action" that "doesn't resolve the issue".
The container has been sitting at Creole Point since it was washed there from Gail Cady's property during damaging floods in March 2011.
It has been a headache for the council and Ms Cady ever since.
The council issued a clean-up notice against her late last year.
Ms Cady has now been given until Friday to supply a timetable for its removal or face action in the Land and Environment Court.
But she has said she cannot even reach the container, which is only accessible by water, let alone afford to remove it.
One removal quote obtained by the council put the bill at $24,000.
The most likely option appears to be cutting it up on site.
Ms Cady questioned why the council didn't remove it as part of the flood clean-up.
"They just want me to foot the bill," she said.
"We were declared a natural disaster area and we can't access it by land.
"God knows how much it's going to cost. I run my own little shop here [at Oak Flats] which is doing it very, very hard at the moment.
"If I was able to, I would have a go to make it go away, but I don't know how to do it."
Ms Cady said the council also wanted her to cover its legal costs.
Cr Peter Moran said the container "clearly became council's responsibility" after the floods.
"I don't think council is going to get the outcome that they're hoping for by taking this course of action and of course the outcome that they should be looking for is the removal of the container," he said.
"Council did have funds made available by the state government to deal with the consequences of the natural disaster and yet ... they've chosen not to apply those funds to this issue."
A council spokeswoman said the container was not removed after the flood because it did not pose a health or safety risk.
The council had explored funding from the state and federal governments and from other agencies, she said.
As the container had been dislodged from Ms Cady's property, she was responsible for its removal, she said.