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I wrote to you a little while ago about renovations proceeding in residential strata. It continues to be an area of concern for many residents in my building (just over 100 apartments). While I sympathise with owners seeking to continue or commence renovations, I still believe it involves a risk to residents who are attempting to minimise contact which could result in Delta transmission.
This is particularly given the case regarding the letter from Dr Kerry Chant to Strata Managers that was provided to our strata committee. It is not a public document as far as I can find in searching online. That search did bring up the post on your website about whether the letter was legitimate and the conclusion that it is.
Nevertheless less I believe that the examples provided in that letter relate to indoor common areas, ie a gym, foyer or theatre. I don’t think these examples apply to outdoor areas. Our strata committee has taken the letter as a reason to close our outdoor garden and pool area. The Chairman says he is concerned about fines. I agree that we should voluntarily shut the enclosed common areas like the gym and sauna as there is a real risk of transmission. However I do not agree that we should rely on a letter from the CHO to close the external facilities. Obviously the external facilities will have to comply with social distancing requirements.
I have written seeking clarification from NSW Health but an answer has not been forthcoming. The only phone number that seems to be available is Services NSW and they advised on Friday that outdoor facilities are able to be used provided there is social distancing .
I understand that the orders are very confusing (I’ve read them probably 80 times recently). I am wondering if you have heard of any other strata’s dealing with this letter. I do believe we should comply with the intent but do not believe it is enforceable through police fines cf actual Health Orders made under the Act.
Strata has been left out most of the time in the policy development around these health orders. We are a second consideration and it becomes a minefield for strata committees trying to do the right thing but also not unfairly or illegally close common facilities. Meanwhile tradies traipse through our common areas including lifts but, according to our SC, we can’t sit outside in the fresh air away from the noise.
I have another question for discussion about whether it would be unreasonable to place a restriction on a new renovation so that it commences once the stay at home and work from home orders are relaxed. People can’t get away from it and working from home is very difficult while walls are shaking from drilling etc.
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