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August 09 Edition Cover

Supreme Court action over pool fees

30 Oct 2014

Supreme Court action over pool fees Image

Residents of Victoria Point have been locked out of the building’s pool and gym over a fees dispute between the owners’ corporation (OC) and the facility’s owner.

Victoria Point Joint Venture (VPJV) owns the YMCA-operated pool and gym at the base of Victoria Point and says the building’s OC has failed to pay for resident’s use of the facilities for more than 12 months.

Residents’ pool and gym access cards were suspended on October 7 and VPJV has filed Supreme Court action against the OC to recover the alleged unpaid fees.

But the OC says it can’t pay the fees because that would means breaching the Owners’ Corporation Act.

According to VPJV, a commercial arrangement had been in place between itself and the OC since 2006, with the OC paying a contribution to allow residents access to the facilities.

But, according to Victoria Point OC chair Ilana Kempler, the 30-year-plus agreement, with CPI increases, is invalid because the developer of the building entered into the agreement without authority to do so.

She said the agreement was also “onerous”, reaching $312,000 this year for owners to use the facilities, with limited hours and, apart from access, no other benefits.

Ms Kempler said in the past year the OC had become aware that the agreement was invalid and said continuing to pay the fee would be in breach of the OC Act.

“To enter into this agreement would require a special resolution of the owners’ corporation, meaning 75 per cent of lot owners would have to agree,” Ms Kempler said.

“We can’t continue to pay because this would be against the act as we would be using OC money without approval of owners to do so.”

The VPJV says for the past 12 months the OC has not paid its contribution and attempts at mediation and settlement had failed.

But Ms Kempler said the OC had attempted to negotiate a “reasonable amount” for use of the facilities, in April, subject to a special resolution.

While YMCA manages the pool and gym as tenant of the property, it has no involvement in the dispute or legal proceedings.

VPJV spokesperson Murray Anglin did not confirm the exact figure the OC owed the VPJV but said it was a six-figure number.

“We are very disappointed that we have had to take this extreme action. The owners’ corporation has had many opportunities in the past 12 months to resolve this situation, however the silence on their part has been incredibly frustrating to deal with,” Mr Anglin said.

Ms Kempler said the OC was working towards finding a resolution to the issue.

“The committee is actively sourcing an alternative solution. Whatever we do find or negotiate with VPJV will be subject to a special resolution,” she said.

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