Saturday, April 21, 2018

Landowners take action against drainage bungle

sadviser March 27, 2013

LANDOWNERS AT A LOSS… Landowners surrounding the Midland Highway/Doyles Road intersection in Shepparton are taking action against Goulburn Murray Water due to loss of property value and clauses in a Transfer Agreement not being complied with. Pictured, Rocky D’Agostino near his property on the Midland Highway, showing the level that floodwaters reached after the recent flooding event.  Photo: Alicia Zeqir.A LONG standing flooding feud in Shepparton has left landowners who have been most affected by flood events with no choice but to once again take action, after Shepparton’s drainage bungle last month.
Rocky and Richard D’Agostino, owners of land in Shepparton East are revisiting a long standing argument which has been causing the duo trouble since before 2002 and already been the subject of three court cases. The brothers are not taking the latest drainage disaster lying down, taking out a Supreme Court Writ against Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) that will go to court in the coming months, due to GMW not following through with responsibilities set out in a Transfer Agreement they made with Greater Shepparton City Council (GSCC) in May 2008. The ‘Agreement’ passed on ownership of the drainage area effecting Mr D’Agostino’s property to GSCC under strict instruction that GMW would not allow for the amount of water carried through pipes in the drainage area to be lessened without GMW’s authentication.
In late 2001 early 2002, when Rocky and Richard had purchased a development property on the corner of Doyles Rd and Benalla Rd they were informed by GMW that an Urban Drainage Policy was in place in the area. The policy outlined that a runoff rate be retarded to 1.2 litres per second per hectare and that everyone in the Shepparton East area was being forced to comply.
During three separate court cases in 2002, 2004 and 2011 court evidence given by GMW declared that had all landowners in that area complied with the policies limit, flooding would not occur. It also gave evidence that Council is in fact responsible for the management of drainage in the area.
After past flooding events and the recent drainage bungle, Mr D’Agostino’s property value has decreased in value by approximately $375,000.
Rocky D’Agostino said, “All the authorities; GMW, GSCC, VicRoads and Goulburn Broken Catchment management Authority all knew that the area was prone to flooding and that they had to apply the policy in order to correct the issue, but they failed to do so.
“If the original policy that we were forced into actually applied to everyone in the area, flooding wouldn’t occur.
“It’s been a long standing argument with us, and now the lies have come unstuck.
“The short answer to what we are hoping to achieve is the solution that was agreed upon in the first, second and third court cases where GMW and Council agreed there wouldn’t be any more flooding at all. This is the outcome we are searching for,” Rocky said.
At the time of publication GMW and GSCC failed to make comment on the current or past cases relating to that drainage area and GMW failed to be able to produce a copy of the Urban Drainage Policy.