Celebs left all at sea by potty interpretation of bylaws


Described by one resident as "a bit like Melrose Place", the celebrity-infested Pier 6/7 apartment block at Sydney's Walsh Bay is at the centre of a new drama - and this episode stars Nicole Kidman's boat, the building bylaws and a pot plant.

  • Strict strata laws govern block
  • Kidman yacht breaches bylaw
  • Spokesman denies 'special treatment'

The luxury waterfront building was once home to Kidman and still harbours Ryan Stokes (son of the Channel Seven boss, Kerry), James Symond (nephew of the home-loan supremo John), the former newsreader Mary Kostakidis, the real-estate kingpin John McGrath and the BridgeClimb founder Paul Cave.

Residents are governed by a set of strict strata bylaws controlling everything from where they can hang washing to whether they can feed seagulls.

One Pier 6/7 resident is being pursued by the strata committee for removing tiles on his balcony and installing pot plants in their place, a breach of the building's bylaws that could land him in the Consumer Traders and Tenancy Tribunal facing a fine of up to $5000.

However, Kidman has escaped the wrath of the strata committee despite knowingly breaching another bylaw. In spite of a ban on non-residents using the Pier 6/7 marina, the actor's $4.5 million boat, Hokulani, remains moored there almost 12 months after she moved out.

To add insult to injury, the pot plant-loving resident - who asked not to be named and refused to comment - has also had his view partially obscured by Kidman's large luxury boat. A spokesman for Kidman, who also asked not to be named, said she and the body corporate were aware that the boat was not supposed to remain on site after she moved out but said Kidman "doesn't get any special treatment".

"We were fully aware of the bylaws but weren't trying to take advantage of the situation. The boat stayed because there was a possibility of purchasing another apartment, which never happened in the end. The boat is going next week, anyway," he said. "The body corporate would never do anything just because it's her."

Wally Paterson from Dynamic Property Services, which advises the Pier 6/7 owners' corporation, said he was "absolutely adamant that everyone gets treated equally no matter who or what they are".

However, he said that if Hokulani "is not owned by or leased to or under care of control of someone who is resident there, then I would believe that is correct, it is a breach".

Pier 6/7 hit the headlines in August when Kostakidis alleged that a former chairman of the strata committee, Bruce Fallshaw- the celebrity real-estate agent who sold Kidman's apartment to his father, Tasman Fallshaw - had been telling residents they could buy adjacent flats and knock down internal walls to create super-pads. The City of Sydney Council investigated those apartment owners for illegal building work because they did not submit development applications. "For the amalgamated apartments, owners are required to lodge the appropriate applications with the Land Titles Office," a council spokesman said. "Owners are being required to seek the appropriate certification to ensure works comply with relevant building and safety standards."

Mr Fallshaw is still a member of the owners' corporation but no longer the chairman. He remains a powerful figure in the Walsh Bay area as the real-estate agent who brokers many of the property deals and holds a majority of proxy votes at the owners' corporation annual general meeting.

The resident being pursued over his pot plants lives directly below Mr Fallshaw, who himself appears to be in breach of the building's bylaws.

The bylaws governing the Pier 6/7 marina ban commercial advertising on boats moored there but Mr Fallshaw's boat clearly displays a sign advertising his real estate business, City Living.

The Herald submitted questions to Mr Fallshaw on why he and Kidman were not pursued for breaching bylaws while other residents were but he did not respond.

Mr Fallshaw faces fines of up to $27,000 for failing to implement five orders from the consumer tribunal after he was found in March to have breached bylaws governing The Connaught, another property in Liverpool Street where his company owns six shops.

Stephen Goddard, the chairman of the Owners' Corporation Network (the peak body for strata committees), said bylaws should always be enforced uniformly. "Ordinary principles of natural justice and procedural fairness require all occupiers to be treated equally. If a company director started treating one shareholder more favourably than another, it would be a crime," he said.

"Executive committee members need to understand the responsibility that attaches to their position and the duty they have to all proprietors." 

AUTHOR: Sunanda Creagh
SOURCE: www.theage.com.au



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