Major council problems

From: John Fewster


Bet ya never seen a question like this before!
Help! Ive got a big problem with the local council.
One of my i.p's is a river front holiday home on the Murray, one hour out of Adelaide. Lousy yeild but has provided way above average capital growth.(purchased for 92K- now worth 200k after 7 yrs- not bad for an Adelaide I.P.) Very very limited supply but heaps of demand. Its proven to be my best investment by far (out of 3 i.p's). There is a small (100 ft wide) strip of "freehold council reserve" along the waters edge (typical for the area) which for the last 7 years has not caused any problems.Then my neighbour got out there with a shovel and built a boat ramp - in front of my property! How nice of him!
When I complained to him he said - its public reserve- you can't stop me! Needless to say, I dont like him anymore! I complained to council and my letter was tabled at the 'reserves committee meeting" but was totally dismissed. They didnt care about the problems it would cause me, or the damage to the river bank, or the fact that its illegal and unregistered, or in breach of the water resources act,or has "native title" issues etc etc. They stuck their head in the sand by voting to "monitor it" for now. What didnt help was the fact that the councilor who shot me down in flames owns most of the vacant land across the road and could possibly benefit from using this "new" boat ramp as a future selling point for his land (there is vehicular access to the reserve). He started his speech by portraying ME as the 'badie". How dare I try and stop what is obviously a benefit to the local community (i.e. him). Do I think I own the place or something?
The local council seems to be made up of self interested local farm boys, all mates and mostly over 60 yrs old.They hate the "townies", as they call them.These are the same people who recently approved the "Nildottie spud farm" along with the six huge water pipes that ruined the beautiful cliff face- Adelaide people would know what I'm on about here- it made the papers.)

Can someone with a bit of experience in dealing with difficult councils provide me with some direction as to how I should go about fighting the issue.
How can I educate myself about council procedures?
Are there any books on the subject?
Should I see the local minister?
Do councils normally have a right of appeal and how successful would this be?(if the same people are running it I dont think it would be successful at all!)
The Crown Lands dept and the Dept. of Environment tell me its a council problem. But council wont help!
Ive asked if there is a management plan for the reserve but they wont tell me. Im fairly sure there is not. And here in lies the problem. No rule book means they can make it up as they go along. Council seems to hold all the cards and i dont have any knowledge about council matters.
This boat ramp has the potential to seriously de-value my investment, especially if it becomes widely known.There are two other "proper" boat ramps in town but this new one is closer for locals that have a four wheel drive. I need to nip this problem in the bud A.S.A.P. Please help!
 
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Reply: 1
From: Mike .


Hi John,

Take your complaint to the State Ombudsman. Their website is at http://www.ombudsman.sa.gov.au/start.html

What is within the State Ombudsman's Jurisdiction (sphere of duty)?
http://www.ombudsman.sa.gov.au/faqs/jurisdiction.html

How does the Ombudsman action complaints?
http://www.ombudsman.sa.gov.au/faqs/investigatingcomplaints.html

The Crown Lands dept and the Dept. of Environment tell me its a council problem.

Ask the Ombudsman what other state depts have jurisdiction.

Good Luck - Mike
 
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Reply: 2
From: Robert Forward


Hi John

As you said, never heard of a problem like that before.

Since the structure is an unregistered structure and no one really owns it how about attacking it. If it's a cement ramp hire a jack hammer and pull it up so it's unusable. If it's dirt, then dig really deep trenchs that a 4x4 can't get over.

Or you can start talking to the council about their exposure to Public Liability due to an unsafe, unregistered structure on their land. This could bring able a change of face by the council since any insurance company would probably not cover it...

Anyway, I do not endorse any illegal action in regards to the above matter. What I said was tongue in cheek (aka: a joke).

Cheers,
Robert

Get your Property Inspection Reports @
http://www.CreativeFinance.com.au
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Reply: 3
From: Anonymous


why don't you carefully and tactfully raise the issue of the conflict of interest which that councillor has. Take photos (date stamped or video) which shows who uses the boat ramp (maybe you can catch him out).

Also, get a friendly engineering report which shows it is unsafe/unstable (maybe some friendly bunyips might help in damaging it to that state ;^) )

Also, you or a family member may accidentally injure yourself on the offending structure - then threaten suit vs neighbour and council...

document and diarise everything - every call to the council, every response. Tape record all meetings and discussions. There's no illegality in doing so unless you are actually tapping the phone my some technical means - but you can record what comes out of the handset by external means to your heart's content!

another poster's suggestions may have been tongue in cheek - but I'm a big believer in self-help remedies!
 
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Reply: 3.1
From: John Fewster


Thanks for that. I like the way you guys think! This helps me a lot. Tell me more!
Can I walk into a council meeting with a video camera? Can they ask me to leave or turn it off? The meetings are open to the public after all- aren't they? I would like to record the councillors face when I mention the conflict of interest bit. I also like the public liability bit. Is there anyway I can find out who the insurer is so I can mention it to them? Eagerly awaiting your answers.
 
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Reply: 3.1.1
From: Jakk Bass - The SLUM LORD


G'Day John,

....and don't forget the next council elections.
Put yourself up as a candidate and maybe get a few mates in as well as running mates.

I know there was a particular councillor in our council that was not very sympathetic to certain peoples views.
Three of them got together and ran against her and by directing preferences in a particular way, she is long gone and one of these guys got in.
If nothing else, you'll get noticed.

regards
Jakk
 
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Reply: 3.1.1.1
From: Michele B


First thing John is to find out who actually owns the land in question. You might be surprised. Then work from there.
 
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Reply: 3.1.1.1.1
From: F P


I agree with Robert. If the structure was constructed without a permit, or Council Approval, then you need to make sure it's not usable.

Also, don't write to the Council, but write to the Local Government Authority stating your case and asking if there is any public liability on the ramp and also mention that it was constructed without approval. If you have a solicitor in the family, get it sent on their letterhead.

When writing this letter, cc a copy to the local member of parliament as well as the federal member of parliament.

Arguments about conflict of interest etc wont work.

Get a copy of the development act for your area..see http://www.planning.sa.gov.au/edp/start/start.htm

Check to see if a boat ramp is a complying or non-complying development or even a prohibited use.

Write to everybody and cc everybody else.

Good luck.
 
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Reply: 4
From: Jenny Nowakowski


If the worst comes to the worst you could take them to the Land and Environment Court.

Jenny

On 6/3/02 2:27:00 AM, John Fewster wrote:
>Bet ya never seen a question
>like this before!
>Help! Ive got a big problem
>with the local council.
>One of my i.p's is a river
>front holiday home on the
>Murray, one hour out of
>Adelaide. Lousy yeild but has
>provided way above average
>capital growth.(purchased for
>92K- now worth 200k after 7
>yrs- not bad for an Adelaide
>I.P.) Very very limited supply
>but heaps of demand. Its
>proven to be my best
>investment by far (out of 3
>i.p's). There is a small (100
>ft wide) strip of "freehold
>council reserve" along the
>waters edge (typical for the
>area) which for the last 7
>years has not caused any
>problems.Then my neighbour got
>out there with a shovel and
>built a boat ramp - in front
>of my property! How nice of
>him!
>When I complained to him he
>said - its public reserve- you
>can't stop me! Needless to
>say, I dont like him anymore!
>I complained to council and my
>letter was tabled at the
>'reserves committee meeting"
>but was totally dismissed.
>They didnt care about the
>problems it would cause me, or
>the damage to the river bank,
>or the fact that its illegal
>and unregistered, or in breach
>of the water resources act,or
>has "native title" issues etc
>etc. They stuck their head in
>the sand by voting to "monitor
>it" for now. What didnt help
>was the fact that the
>councilor who shot me down in
>flames owns most of the vacant
>land across the road and could
>possibly benefit from using
>this "new" boat ramp as a
>future selling point for his
>land (there is vehicular
>access to the reserve). He
>started his speech by
>portraying ME as the 'badie".
>How dare I try and stop what
>is obviously a benefit to the
>local community (i.e. him). Do
>I think I own the place or
>something?
>The local council seems to be
>made up of self interested
>local farm boys, all mates and
>mostly over 60 yrs old.They
>hate the "townies", as they
>call them.These are the same
>people who recently approved
>the "Nildottie spud farm"
>along with the six huge water
>pipes that ruined the
>beautiful cliff face- Adelaide
>people would know what I'm on
>about here- it made the
>papers.)
>
>Can someone with a bit of
>experience in dealing with
>difficult councils provide me
>with some direction as to how
>I should go about fighting the
>issue.
>How can I educate myself about
>council procedures?
>Are there any books on the
>subject?
>Should I see the local
>minister?
>Do councils normally have a
>right of appeal and how
>successful would this be?(if
>the same people are running it
>I dont think it would be
>successful at all!)
>The Crown Lands dept and the
>Dept. of Environment tell me
>its a council problem. But
>council wont help!
>Ive asked if there is a
>management plan for the
>reserve but they wont tell me.
>Im fairly sure there is not.
>And here in lies the problem.
>No rule book means they can
>make it up as they go along.
>Council seems to hold all the
>cards and i dont have any
>knowledge about council
>matters.
>This boat ramp has the
>potential to seriously
>de-value my investment,
>especially if it becomes
>widely known.There are two
>other "proper" boat ramps in
>town but this new one is
>closer for locals that have a
>four wheel drive. I need to
>nip this problem in the bud
>A.S.A.P. Please help!
 
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