This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by 4 months ago.
11/06/2019 at 4:50 pm #38019
We live on the river in Brisbane. We have an older concrete boat ramp into the river. Due to tidal flow and CityCat wash some pretty serious under-gouging of the boat ramp and adjoining stairs have taken place. A few years ago the first 3 metres snapped off and fell into the river at a unusable steep slope. This resulted in a deep gutter hazard at that crack which at least now has been filled with gravel. Under the remaining ramp you can look under at low tide to see the further under-gouging underneath of another 2 metres. My question is: should something happen resulting in the next part to break off (let alone injure someone on it – though it doesn’t appear imminently collapsible) will insurance refuse to pay for this known (unreported to them tho) and obviously poorly maintained part of the property? And, should I call the insurer to enquire or will this immediately enforce a full corrective action demand by the insurer? (The committee are aware if it and had a repair quote which they found too dear so have done nothing).
11/06/2019 at 5:47 pm #38022
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Is the ramp part of the common property? If so, the Owners Corporation has an absolute responsibility to maintain it. I don’t know about where your boundary is relative to high and low tide lines but if it was part of the original construction to have a boat ramp and if, in order to function it had to extend a bit past the boundary, then I would expect it is still your common property to maintain.
Sometimes committees can get spooked about costs. Where I am past committees had looked into and rejected replacing a particular gravel path with concrete even though it kept getting washed out, became at best uncomfortable and at worst a trip hazard, and kept needing to be fixed. When looking back over decades of minutes I found that every few years somebody suggested concreting it, had got a quote and then the committee of the day had baulked at the expense. Eventually, when I was treasurer, we fixed the path permanently, all regarded it as a big improvement, the cost was small compared with the overall budget, a matter of several 10s of dollars per unit, and nobody got upset.
On the other hand, is the boat ramp disused? If so, is that because nobody is interested or because it is in such poor shape? If people would like to use it, then put it in the proposed budget for the coming year to get the funding to get it repaired properly. If it would be better removed, then you would need to check your legislation for the class of resolution required for an OC to decide to not maintain (and remove) some bit of common property. Where I am, that would take a special resolution.11/06/2019 at 7:44 pm #38024
Thank you. Can you add anything on insurance culpability which is of my particular interest. Only recently has the committee now got the lower portion of the boat ramp concrete being gernied (still too infrequent and river slime does reappear in full between washes). New arrivals tend to use it about 4 times with a new kayak then loose interest, a few of us do fish intermittently from the location, it is rare to have such a thing these days so tho low use but sells the dream of being here to new buyers I think, a few have mentioned using it for jet ski launching but haven’t bought one yet. I did see a visitor with a kayak horribly slip fall with his kayak under his arm previously. There is no lights for night fishermen. So surely kept in good repair for use and insurance is important?11/06/2019 at 8:04 pm #38026
My understanding is that your liability insurance would cover you if you were found liable for someone’s injury due to a failure to maintain the facility in a safe condition. However, you could expect the cost of insurance to be considerably higher when you go to renew and have to disclose having been found negligent.
Aside from the insurance issue, the OC has to comply with the relevant strata act, which I am sure would include an absolute obligation to maintain the common property in Qld, the same as elsewhere.
In another post you mention having put several motions to an upcoming AGM but I don’t know if they were to do with the boat ramp.
Anyone can put a motion to a general meeting. In your situation, and if the committee was reluctant to propose funds for the boat ramp repairs, I would notify my intention to put a motion to amend the proposed budget to include the repair with an appropriate adjustment to the levy. A motion might include amending the sinking fund plan and its levy to include the repair.
If the motion were to fail, it might then be possible to seek an order from the state Tribunal to give effect to the failed motion on the grounds that objection is unreasonable. IE. The Tribunal does a merits review. The ACT act has an explicit provision for this but I don’t know if the Qld act does. If the Tribunal finds that your proposal should have passed on the grounds that the OC is obliged to maintain the common property and you had a realistic proposed budget for that and the committee can’t make a reasonable case for any alternative course of action, then the Tribunal may give the order you want because any alternative would be unreasonable due to the absolute maintenance obligation.
My impression from the ACT’s Tribunal is that they want you to try the democratic process first before bothering them.11/06/2019 at 9:53 pm #38027
Thanks for your considered thoughts/ I’ll take your recent responses on board. Certainly funds sought are increasing and owners are not happy. It’s obvious that the oldies running the show have done little in prior years and are reluctantly facing yesterdays inevitable issues at today’s prices. My current 3 motions you mention relate to other things but I will now comment on the accumulation of funds in the sinking fund so this is at least on peoples mind. Thank you again, sincerely appreciated.