Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pool Fence Regulations Modified to help sellers

For several years we have been warning landlords of the need to get swimming pool fences certified if you want to be able to rent or sell your property after April 28. Each year so far the implementation of the new regulations has been postponed for another year, but now we are being told the rules will be enforced, as from 28 April 2016. If people are unable to sell or rent their properties after that date, there will obviously be an uproar, so it is not surprising the State has relented. The question is, how will the modified rules work?”

Vendors will now be able to sell their property with a “Certificate of Non-compliance”! The buyer will then have 90 days to address any issues and obtain a certificate of compliance. One can envisage all sorts of contractual problems as sales are put on hold or cancelled because the vendor and buyer cannot agree on the effect of this on the sale price. Many buyers will just walk away from a sale rather than accept the (largely uncosted) obligation to fix the fence.

The new laws don’t seem to help landlords and tenants if the property has a non-compliant pool fence. The new law still states that a “Certificate of compliance” must be given to the tenant on entering a new lease. So no compliance, no lease. Very often the tenant will walk rather than wait.

Obviously Mr Baird is more worried about losing Stamp Duty on sales than about leaving rental properties vacant while remedial action is taken.

More details can be found at www.swimming

Monday, April 4, 2016

Swimming Pool Fence Regulations

Bowing to the inevitable, the rules for certification of swimming pool fences are, at the last minute, being relaxed. (Refer to several earlier posts on this issue) We are advised by Hornsby Shire Council that a property can be sold despite a pool having failed it's initial inspection, and on settlement the new owner has to fix the deficiencies within a mandated period. Obviously the purchaser will expect a price reduction, and presumably the sales contract will have to be amended, giving the buyer the chance to change his mind. Add in solicitors fees and this could result in some serious unhappiness! But at least Mr Baird will get the stamp duty from the sale!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Trust Sponsorship of Films

During 2015 the Trust organised two films, The Lorax and Arthur Christmas, both held in the Beecroft community hall. Both were very well attended by adults and children. The Committee has resolved to continue this activity, since it clearly benefits the local community. It needs to be remembered though that HSC stipulate that free use of the hall is dependent on all profits being donated to a charity. So when you attend these events please remember that the Trust is not taking any profit from the film event. We do try to obtain memberships from those attending, but all the work put in by Trust members is voluntary and unrewarded.

Cheques to be phased out

The business section of SMG reports that cheques are obsolete and are being phased out.

The following quote is taken off the Reserve Bank of Australia website:
The decline in the use of both cheques and cash in Australia provides a useful context for discussion of innovation. Each of these two instruments has its own distinct attributes that have contributed to its popularity as a payment method over many years, though the issues associated with declining usage differ between the two instruments.

But in the Trust cheques seem to remain popular! About a third of membership payments are received as cheques, almost all the rest being by EFT. One of the issues for the Trust treasurer is that the BCCT constitution demands two signatures on disbursements, so there would probably have to be a constitution change to implement 21st century banking.

Council Amalgamations

It now seems clear that Hornsby council will be merged with Ku-ring-gai, and that the portion of Beecroft south west of the M2 motorway will be hived off and merged with Parramatta. As more firm details emerge we will report them in this blog.

Hornsby Quarry

A recent article in SMH has the optimistic heading "Hornsby Quarry set to be filled with North Connex spoil from October". The detail in the article gives a less favourable view. Quotes from the article include:

The 100-metre deep pit will finally become a little shallower from October when it is due to start being filled will spoil from the construction of NorthConnex. Residents have been warned that it will not be a pleasant process. The spoil haulage is expected to last up to 28 months and is not due to be completed until the end of 2018. At its peak, there will be 70 trucks travelling through Hornsby every hour from the excavation site to the pit. But even after the NorthConnex soil has been dumped, the pit will still only be one-third full.

The cross section diagram off the Roads and Maritime website suggests the pit will be filled well above one third, but we don't know how accurate that is. RMS will probably say the diagram is just indicative.

I have wondered for years where all the spoil hauled from recent excavations goes, eg M2, North West Rail Link, even The Module three stories deep hole now being dug. One assumes there is a commercial market for good quality Australian soil, but it's just a shame that the authorities can't mandate that all significant spoil goes toward filling the quarry.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Footpath Hull Road to Bangalow Ave

The Trust protested to HSC when a new residential property on Hull Road cut off the short footpath from the middle of Hull Road to Bangalow Ave, preventing local residents from taking a nice circular walk covering Chapman Avenue, Hull Rd, and Bangalow Ave.
We are pleased to note that HSC has constructed a very suitable foot bridge across the river restoring access to this footpath.

Swimming Pool Legislation Update - NZ

Following my last post on this topic, I received an email from someone in New Zealand. Their government has had rules like ours in force for 28 years and like all governments in that situation are now changing the rules.
One good change is to extend the validity of a certificate of conformity from 3 yrs to 5 yrs.
Other more questionable changes include that, where fence height was regulated at 1.2m, the new rules apparently require only that "protective barriers be performance-based". If a landowner protests against an inspector who rules the pool doesn't meet that requirement, it could make for an interesting challenge! At least the Australian rules are unambiguous.

An extract from the report I was sent includes Starship Children's Health director Mike Shephard expressing concern "that the changes are not based on the existing science around swimming pool fencing. There is no dispute that child drowning has dropped significantly since the 1987 act was passed. It might not have been perfectly consistent in operation but any law in this area has to give councils and inspectors some discretion. Home swimming pools exist in situations as varied as the building designs and landscaping of properties that can afford them."

Does anyone else know more about either the NZ or Australian rules?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Swimming Pool Regulations

Council has confirmed that the new swimming pool regulations will be enforced from 29 April of this year.

Estate Agents confirm that this will soon make it virtually impossible to sell any house with a swimming pool unless it is already certified. Before the sale can settle, the pool must be inspected, faults rectified, then reinspected to obtain a certificate. We have heard of this requiring lengthy renovations, and numerous inspections, which could be impossible to achieve before 29 April, and it will be illegal to settle after that date without a certificate.

One anticipates a significant drop in stamp duty for the state when house sales dry up. Similarly landlords will be unable to take on new tenants if their existing tenants vacate after that date unless the pool is already certified.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Beecroft Pedestrian Bridge Work Continuing

The Trust received notification from R&M that "work continues on pedestrian bridge over Beecroft Rd from Saturday 16 Jan"