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Levy on Flats Could Help Pay For Road

Developers are divided on how to fund redeveloping Parramatta Road into a vibrant housing area, with a levy on flats and 'tax increment financing' being two possible models.

Developers Won't Save Parramatta Road Alone

Cynicism, when it comes to developer motives, is usually just realism - especially when it's gangs of developers and those motives miraculously coincide with a green agenda. The Urban Taskforce is such a gang and its Parramatta Road proposal - 100,000 jobs, 100,000 apartments - is such a coincidence. Quentin Dempster, moderating last week's launch, noted in that soft, lovely way he has of slipping the stiletto in, ''you, the development industry, have a big problem as far as winning back public support is concerned''.
Sydney Morning Herald
Elizabeth Farrelly

Educate The Public And This Plan Might Work

Let's be clear. Just being endorsed by the developer, mining and business lobbies doesn't necessarily make a thing bad. But it might reasonably alert your suspicions. The NSW Minerals Council praises Brad Hazzard's planning green paper as a path to "growth, jobs and economic benefits". The Property Council calls it bold and far-reaching. The Sydney Business Chamber says it "de-risks" development. The Urban Development Institute of Australia calls it a "great start". And Infrastructure Partnerships Australia heaves a sigh of relief that the new system will finally "close off ongoing appeals and reviews".
Sydney Morning Herald
Elizabeth Farrelly

Don't Be Dudded By Housing Data

One of the more interesting outcomes the 2011 Census produced was the figures concerning the housing market. The results contrasted with the idea that Australia currently suffers from an acute housing undersupply or shortage. In 2009 the alarming State of Supply Report 2008 made instant headlines. There was only one small problem: the purported shortage of 85,000 dwellings was complete fiction.

By Accident Or Design, The Legacy of Bad Planning Lives On

As a primate of signal curiosity I often feel like some urban fringe dweller, guddling about in the detritus of the culture industry, feeling with my fingerless gloves for gleams of truth or loveliness amongst the dross. I constantly remind myself, as I go, not to take umbrage that so much of it is junk - it is after all a midden - and to focus instead on the finds. These I tuck under my jacket to re-use or, better still, transform into some astonishing new implement of mind.
Sydney Morning Herald
Elizabeth Farrelly

Developers Show Their Stripes All Over Town

Ever get the sense the bad guys are winning, asks architect and journalist Elizabeth Farrelly.

No end in sight to waiting game on Bunn Street

IN 2009, the state government's home warranty insurance arm acted decisively to move Mark Terry out of his unsafe Pyrmont flat - unfortunately for him, it has barely acted since. ''You're disheartened by the fact that they don't seem to understand that there's people involved here,'' said Mr Terry. ''We just want to go back into our units and live our lives.''
Sydney Morning Herald
Leesha McKenny

Most new strata-title properties have defects

THE most comprehensive study ever of strata properties has found 85 per cent of new apartments in NSW are plagued by defects. The results of the two-year, federally-funded University of NSW study reveal major problems with compliance and management of multi-unit dwellings, which accounted for 75 per cent of properties built in Sydney in the five years to 2009. Researchers surveyed 1550 strata owners, managers and peak bodies. Seven out of 10 owners reported building defects in their properties, with water leaks and internal and external cracks the most common.
Sydney Morning Herald
Leesha Mckenny Matthew Moore

Sorry tale of strata living

After more than 20 years of apartment living, Karen Stiles has experienced her fair share of problems, from spats among neighbours to extreme building faults. In the worst case, after buying an apartment off the plan in 2003 in Sydney’s northern beaches, she ended up in the NSW Supreme Court fighting to get an insurance company to pay for building faults.
The Australian Financial Review
Ainslie Chandler

No, Minister, the problem isn’t the lawyers … it’s the law

The recent statement by NSW Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts that he plans to curb the activities of strata lawyers over-enthusiastically pursuing defect claims against developers was like a baseball bat to the knees of apartment owners and strata profesionals. This is an entirely appropriate allusion considering at least one Sydney developer has used this method to dissuade unhappy apartment owners from exerting their legal rights.

In defence of right to air undies

In these days of modern apartment living, we are often deprived, through clumsily worded, poorly understood and obsessively enforced strata committee bylaws, of many rights, including the right to truly private outdoor spaces. Yet the functions carried out on them and need for such spaces have not gone away.

Unit owners want better standards

The industry group representing developers of medium density housing in Canberra should show more interest in raising building standards, say unit owners. Unit Owners Association ACT president Gary Petherbridge said government agencies, Master Builders Association, Housing Industry Association and Institute of Architects were at monthly working group meetings on how to raise building standards in the territory, but the Property Council had shown no interest.
Domain
JOHN THISTLETON

Sydney's strata surprises: saga of horse next door, the trout farm and 'Niagara Falls'

THERE was a gaggle of geese living in an apartment. A vindictive owner who regularly ran all the taps in his unit to deliberately push up the water bill for the rest of the block. And a horse that was kept in a Glebe townhouse. The number of complaints about strata schemes has been steadily increasing over the past decade, rising from 945 requests for strata mediation lodged with NSW Fair Trading in 2003 to 1405 in 2009 and 1474 last year.
Sydney Morning Herald
Alexandra Smith

Deals on wheels

Buyers are saving money by car sharing. No car means no hassles with parking.

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