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Strata is popular but neglected in green initiatives

19 May 2010
In 1961, Australia became the first country in the world to introduce strata title as a form of property ownership when, under the Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act, Strata Plan 1 was applied to a property in Enfield, an inner western suburb of Sydney. Similar legislation was subsequently enacted in other states but, in typical federalist fashion, strata law varies in each jurisdiction. Today in the Sydney local government area 60 per cent of current residents live in 54,000 high density strata title buildings and 80 per cent of those buildings are expected to be standing in 2050. Across the country, increases in population, especially in our major urban centres, will result in a growth in strata title dwellings. across the country. Planning for an environmentally sustainable future requires recognition of the special challenges posed by strata titled dwellings.
The Fifth Estate
Boris Kelly

More space? Lose a bedroom

15 May 2010
It’s the perfect apartment in an ideal location but there are too many bedrooms and too little living space. Or it has two bedrooms and you wanted three. Or you’d really like to sacrifice part of that lounge area for a study …Once upon a time, we made do with the apartment we bought and made the best of the space it had to offer. These days we’re taking both a long, hard look at the interior and then the plunge into changing the number of rooms and reconfiguring the layout for a far better personal fit.
Domain
SUSAN WELLINGS

Renters resort to overcrowding: housing shortage

13 May 2010
APARTMENT building managers are reporting major overcrowding problems due to the country's housing shortage and affordability crisis, with cases of more than five people living in tiny one-bedroom apartments.It comes as the country grapples with a shortage of 178,000 homes to buy.
The Australian
Bridget Carter

High-rise costs couple a fortune

12 May 2010
KEN and May Turner have already lost $500,000 moving from a high-rise - and it’s happening again.

Taking care of business - but not you

08 May 2010
When you break down the word “caretaker” it sounds like a good thing. But in strata it can often mean somoene who’s supposed to take care of you and your building but whose main priority is paying off a debt and looking after number one.

More pets should live the high life

08 May 2010
The Institute of Strata Title Management (ISTM) is encouraging owners corporations and pet owners to work together to make apartment living more pet-friendly. David Ferguson, ISTM President said that pet owners need to be able to demonstrate they are responsible for owners representative committees to review applications favourably. While some owners corporations needed to re-consider their pets policy with a view the changing needs of modern lifestyles.

Discover the benefits of a greener building

04 May 2010
Some of them may look no greener than you average coal-fired power station, but according to Inner City resident Christine Byrne, greening older apartment blocks is a fever gripping Sydney.

Expert offers ways to clean up Parramatta Rd

03 May 2010
RESUSCITATING the canned west metro plan and looking to Hong Kong’s skyline for direction are two key ways to address Sydney’s housing dilemma, according to an urban planning and transport expert at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Dick Smith warns we are creating ``battery kids’’

30 Apr 2010
AUSTRALIAN children are becoming like battery hens as high-density living takes over Australia, says entrepreneur Dick Smith.

Let society shape itself

17 Apr 2010
It's hard not to be cynical. Especially when a developer lobby claims giving the government power to force people to sell their homes - to developers - is for "community benefit", as the chief of the Urban Development Institute did last month. It's universally agreed that developers have nothing but the interests of the community at heart. Anyway, that's the proposal of the state government: to set up a government planning authority with the power to compulsorily acquire property and hand it to private developers. The developers will then build higher-density housing - one house replaced with nine - and flog them off at a profit.

Push to change law on flat selling

13 Apr 2010
With just 10 years supply of land left to build new dwellings in Sydney, the city needs to knock down old derelict apartments to build high-rises to meet State Government targets, a lobby group's legislative reform paper before Planning Minister Tony Kelly claimed.Industry sources said strata laws needed to be rewritten for Sydney to meet its housing needs, and the current Act, which requires 100 per cent of apartment owners to agree to terminate was "the most significant obstacle to the renewal to strata buildings".
The Daily Telegraph
Vikki Campion

Compulsory acquisition justifiable to council planners

06 Apr 2010
THE state government's plan to set up a development authority with powers to compulsorily acquire private property for resale to developers is anathema to elected representatives of local government, but not necessarily to the professional planners who work for councils. The elected councillors view another planning authority as a further dilution of their powers and responsibilities. But many council planners see it as the ultimate outcome of the failure of current development processes. Potential sites to house Sydney's burgeoning population are disappearing fast and the government's plan is to increase density in established suburbs. This is cheaper than greenfield development on the city fringe which requires huge expenditure on new infrastructure.

Premier's bid to grab planning powers

01 Apr 2010
CONSTRUCTION of high-rise apartments and commercial developments could soon be expedited under the laws that allowed the rapid approval of federal stimulus projects. The Premier, Kristina Keneally, has ordered a review that will consider retaining the special approval authority set up under the Nation Building program, which denied local government a say in development approvals.
Sydney Morning Herald
Kelsey Munro and Josephine Tovey

Unit owners crushed by $40m loss of views

01 Apr 2010
OWNERS in a prime North Sydney apartment block say a NSW government decision to approve the construction of two new commercial towers will wipe up to $40 million from the value of their homes. The Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, cut five storeys from a commercial development on Walker and Berry streets in North Sydney but still approved towers up to 34 storeys high which will block sweeping harbour views - a decision a leading property valuer says will cut the value of many units by more than a third.
Sydney Morning Herald
Matthew Moore

Are apartments suitable for families? Should more be done to accommodate them?

01 Apr 2010
Just as some apartment developments are being tweaked to make them pet friendly, are we about to see a new breed in Australia of "kid friendly" high rises? Or are developers missing the boat? As our cities grow larger and our population continues to increase at double the rate of the rest of the world, it's clear that more of us will be living in high rises. We often talk about the "death of the quarter-acre block" in hushed tones that sound like we've lost someone and should be holding a funeral. Apartments have long been referred to as places you are "forced into", as if a little bit sinful, only for the down trodden. Especially where there are kids involved.

What Members Say

"The whole strata community owes a huge debt of gratitude to you and the OCN executive. Much appreciated."

Robert, Darlinghurst

"I am very pleased with my membership of OCN, the discussions through sharing emails is very valuable in increasing my knowledge of strata living, the laws and EC responsibilities. I think I am better armed to tread the minefield of the managing agent responsibilities and the necessary action of the EC to monitor the contradictory interests of the agent."

Jim, Wollstonecraft

"I so appreciate being part of the OCN email forum. It provides a great opportunity for sharing ideas and learning"

Ingrid, Neutral Bay

"I must say that I have enjoyed and found consolation in the discussions that have been part of the email chain (forum). I did attend one general meeting and found that it was informative and the people "running the show" were knowledgeable and dedicated to the tasks that had taken on. In short, well done. You and the committee have and continue to support the Strata Community in a very professional manner."

Greg, Parramatta

"Nothing is easy in Strata World and we have been in building defects “mode” for some years – hopefully almost at an end but that process has been most demanding and difficult but again – greatly helped by the experience and wise counsel of other members of OCN."

Pat, St Leonards

"Keep up the good work, as many (if not most) strata schemes need your help, advice and representation at all levels of government."

Jann and John, St Ives

"I belong to OCN because of its professionalism.  I have found the meetings I have been to extremely well presented, to the point, and of course very topical and informative. Speakers on the whole certainly know their topic.  My role of Secretary last year was certainly assisted with the coverage regarding TPG & other subjects. Member newsletters are also of benefit as the topics are specific to strata matters."

Graham, East Balmain

I have enjoyed attending the quarterly OCN meetings and the exchange of emails between other Executive Committee Members and think OCN is playing an increasingly important role as a voice for strata dwellers and representing us at Government level. I wish the organisation continuing success in the future."

Pauline, Kings Cross

"The [forum] response to my question was amazing and really useful.  The OCN community is wonderful so thanks."

Jenny, Killara

"I would like to thank you all for the important effort that you are all putting in to look after apartment owners and tenants. It is so valuable and you are heroes. I would not have been able to deal with my duties as a strata chairman without your advice and assistance." 

Angela, Mascot

"The OCN is invaluable – many thanks."

Bill, Surry Hills

"OCN is proving invaluable"

Sue, Neutral Bay

"Thanks to all at OCN for your continuing efforts to keep us up to date with current strata information and advice...it has been very helpful to us"

Kate, Coogee

"When my wife & I first encountered a problematic Executive Committee I heard that OCN was a great help (from a Strata manager whom I knew) so we both joined and have gratefully used the on-line information sources. We continued to happily rely on OCN’s assistance when we progressed to Committee status & later as Chair & Secretary of our Committee. I still use OCN in my current role as Treasurer."

Peter, Chiswick

"Thanks to OCN for being such a rich resource of trustworthy information about strata matters."

Peter, Chiswick

"I wanted to extend my personal thanks for the very informative & interesting event today. The OCN team did an outstanding job in the organisation of this event & I enjoyed it thoroughly. The quality of speakers, the flow of conversation & interaction from the attendees - first class …& of course, the amazing Jimmy T - always a delight."

Sue, Epping

"OCN does a great job in providing a really valuable service to Strata owners."

Lois, Wollongong

"I am sure my appreciation of your good works is echoed by many in the Stratasphere. Keep up the good work."

John, Elizabeth Bay

"Once again, being able to discuss such things through this forum, helps clear the mind, puts things into perspective and helps one to understand their rights and to form a strategy if needs be. As a simple EC member trying to do what is in the best interests of lot owners, I truly value OCN and am grateful."

Pamela, Point Lookout

"The OCN is probably one of the best, most informed and most informative groups I have been involved with."

Alan, Maryville