Unenlightened payback

TWO residents whose sit-in protest earlier this month prevented a 30-year-old tree in their strata complex being cut down, fear they’ve been the victim of an oddly macabre payback.

While James Kozak and June Winsome-Smith’s appeal against the removal of the grevillea robusta grinds its way through the State Administrative Tribunal (“Tree warrior,” Voice, October 12, 2019), the pair discovered this week that a Buddha statue they’d put in the complex’s common garden had been decapitated.

They believe it was a deliberate act and have reported it to police.

• James Kozak and June Winsome-Smith are convinced their Buddha was decapitated on purpose over a stoush with their strata company. Photo supplied

Breach

Meanwhile the complex’s Council of Owners issued a breach notice to Ms Winsome-Smith on Monday, claiming her protest signs on the grevillea were stuck up without approval and breached the complex’s by-laws.

The CoO threatened it might take further action if the signs aren’t removed, but that’s prompted Ms Winsome-Smith and Mr Kozak to submit two contempt of court applications to the SAT.

They’re arguing the threats undermined the jurisdiction of the SAT, which is arbitrating the matter.

The SAT’s involvement has also unwittingly dragged Bayswater council back into Ms Winsome-Smith’s dispute with the CoO.

The council had previously given the CoO the go-ahead to remove a verge garden she’d planted, but has now retracted that advice.

CEO Andrew Brien said there’s now uncertainty over who can act on behalf of the property owners.

“The city understands that this matter has been referred to the SAT,” Mr O’Brien said.

Ownership

“The city has since advised the strata company that it does not support the redevelopment of the verge garden until the issue of ownership is resolved.”

Mr Kozak and Ms Winsome-Smith have also petitioned the SAT to sack the CoO.

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