34 Union Street - a really nice place to call home, close to everything, even the airport, but it could be a lot better

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Shabbiness

Back in 2011 when residents first arrived the front stairwell was filthy. It was said to have been the route to the workers' lunch room, a more likely explanation was that it had been the route between the pig sty and the abbattoir. There have been some cursery efforts to clean it over the years but no real sustained effort. It's still filthy.

AGM and Maintenance

A major topic at our 2022 annual General Meeting will be the new Maintenance Plan required by recent changes to the Owners Corporation Act.

It is a procedure that shouldn't require the force of law, but there is the temptation by the unscrupulous to improve property sales by reducing levy costs. Until 2012 owners bought their 34 Union Street properties with only the Administration costs declared as "the fee" that went with ownership. In that year it was decided to start a Maintenance Sinking Fund, but the upsurge of early building problems halted any maintenance planning. That early fund - gradually increased to $20,000 annually - has been used to help with solving those problems.

The new changes require us to identify all foreseeable future maintenance items and start to accumulate funds to pay for them. It is a non-trivial task and requires the skills of a quantity surveyor to identify, assign a date repairs may be needed and estimate the cost at that time.

That's all been done and in the minutes of the November Owners Committee meeting is a note that that the new Maintenance levy should be $30,000 excluding GST. The minutes go on to say that the major lift refurbishment due in 2042 and costing an estimated $389,000 will be excluded.

No serious attempt was made to investigate options, so future owners will be left with an increasing financial threat. Imagine owners, and some of you will still be owners, faced with a $389,000 - adjusted for the times - hit on your annual levy.

Is it dishonesty or incompetance? A solution has been sent to your Committee.

Filth

What ever the merits of our new rubbish system the unpleasant state of the bin room demands action. A visit to make a deposit leaves one hurrying back home to scrub up.

Our old system had its faults but one could dump ordinary rubbish, deposit some food waste in the bin around the corner near the old tank, and leave without feeling unclean.

Our lobby

Part of our reconstruction was to rebuild the west wall of the lobby to make it conform to fire rules. Where it previously had a strange zigzag wall the new builder decided to provide a long bench to cover the rough, untreated concrete paving that was now revealed. As an alternative a series of planters was adopted with a couple of small seats interposed. Plants were purchased and all was well until the Monsteras grew to interfere with access to the fire reporting panel. Neither of the two Fire and Wire tradies I spoke to saw this as a problem. The plants close to the window at the north end were sais to have wilted because of the strong sunlight anbd heat.

The solution MIA has adopted is to remove the planter from the position near the fire panel and move a bench into the north most position. Rough conrete is now exposed.

Surely the sensible solution was to satisfy the fire panel interference with a smaller plant and the northern problem with a heat resistant plant. How silly can management get.

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