19/06/2019 at 1:50 pm #38185
Hello strata mavens,
I’m locked in an argument with council regarding a displaced stormwater pipe that has now been broken. I first noticed it when I moved into our small Hillsdale (Bayside Council NSW) block 3 years ago and assumed the OC had informed council of the problem. The pipe has been pushed up between the front wall of our block (no displacement of wall) and the kerb (displacement of footpath causing trip hazard). It looks like someone, sometime, has replaced a small section of the clay pipe with PVC to realign it with the outlet hole in the kerb. I did have a discussion with the chair of our OC who said he had contacted council but had not heard back (turns out this may have only been a few months ago, not as early as I had been led to believe initially).
In May the NBN guys started working in our street. During this period the exposed clay pipe was cracked. I immediately sent photos of the damage to the council and was informed that the stormwater pipes, from the roof to the kerb, are the responsibility of the homeowner (ie OC) to maintain. I contended that the displacement was caused by a tree on the sidewalk (so council’s responsibility) and that if the pipe had been in its original position the damage would not have occurred.
Today (after 3 weeks of hassling and a letter to my local councillor) I received a letter from council stating that they will fix the footpath but not the pipe – they don’t accept that it is the tree that has caused the displacement and suggest it is vibration from “large vehicles” (we’re on a small street and the pipe runs parallel to the driveway). The council insist it’s up to us to “maintain” the pipe (I don’t disagree in principal and the pipe kept clear of blockages) but I contend that the slow growth of the large root that points towards the pipe (but angles down below it) has caused the displacement in the first place.
I have escalated this through my local councillor and requested three quotes for repair and a “theory of cause” from local contractors but would really value the opinion of the FC strata gurus as to where responsibility lies and how I might articulate this (I tried article 59A of the LGA… they’re arguing that because they didn’t install the pipe it’s not their problem). Dealing with council is extremely frustrating!!
many thanks!!19/06/2019 at 2:52 pm #38189
The phrase “you can’t fight City Hall” springs to mind.
That said, how about getting it fixed but at the same time documenting, with reports and pictures, what caused the problem. Then if it turns out you are demonstrably correct, send the council a bill with a demand that they pay within 14 days.
Might not work but could be fun.19/06/2019 at 7:01 pm #38190
Hi, In our limited experience, a specialised plumber (local paper) may help to identify the cause. The plumber puts a pipe down there with a camera, I think; common name, and can’t recall what it is. Understand this method is commonly used, by what have sounded like similar concerns have heard of. If your OC get that done at least the cause will be known, and it will be in writing. Good luck!20/06/2019 at 9:10 am #38198
Thanks Jimmy… that may be what we’ll need to do eventually. I’ve asked for 3 quotes and a “theory of cause” from the local plumbers.
I was quite amused at how fast I got a reply when I said I was escalating the issue to my local councilor!! Still not satisfied but I think you may be right about “city hall”
cheers20/06/2019 at 9:10 am #38199
Thanks Bonnie. The issue isn’t a blockage – we’ve had the camera eels up the pipes in the past. But yes, looks like getting a plumber to weigh in may be the way to go. Thanks for your input. 🙏