Saturday, February 19, 2011

When my rooster is more dangerous than violating building and rental laws: Open letter to Auburn council

Dear Auburn councillors
I bought 2 chickens and their rooster few months ago. After few days, Auburn council rangers visited my place. They told me that my rooster is so noisy and a neighbour had complained to the council about this. They asked me to remove the rooster ASAP.

Not only I complied in the same day. But I was very happy. The council was so quick to respond to rate-payers complaint, though it is very minor, and asked me to comply with noise “legislation”.

Not only this. I was also proud of my council and its stuff, especially the rangers.

But this pride and happiness evacuated pretty immediately.

Few neighbours, including myself, complained to the council about illegally built and rented garage in the backyard. The garage is not registered with the council, either as garage or for-rent-granny. Several complaints were lodged to the council, started from 1 April 2010. The complaints were repeated several times, especially after the garage was visited several times by local police for different matters. Several times the garage was used a hub for alcohol and drug abuse of large numbers of young people. At other times the police came to arrest criminal who seek refuge in the garage with his cousin living there.

The quiet street became theatre for police visits, chase and investigations.

And the council was impotent to implement its laws on this tiny garage, its owner and its tenant.

The rangers came to inspect the garage. They decided that it is illegal to be rented. They talked to its tenant. Then they talked to the real estate that manages it. And they even talked to its owner.

They issued letter to “cease the use of the outbuilding”. Then the council issued another letter to the owner to “clarify the non-compliance of the Council’s Order”. But nobody complied with these letters.

All these communications happened during the last year. But so far nothing had been achieved.

The tenants are still using illegally the garage, against the council order.

Now let me ask you the following important question: how come you were very quickly to implement the noise legislation in dealing with my rooster noise, but you cannot implement laws about building and renting “outbuildings”?

Why the rangers were enthusiastically responding to the complaints against my rooster? They visited my place twice in one week. They also called me several times to make sure that my rooster is not living in my backyard anymore.
But so far there was only one visit by rangers made to the illegally built and rented garage.

Let me assure you that my rooster was not very dangerous on himself or others. Maybe he was very noisy to highly sensitive very close neighbour. That is all.

But living in illegally built and rented garage is more dangerous, on its tenants and neighbours. The garage is lacking all safety measures needed for any building. It is also unhealthy to live in. And most importantly, its tenants are usually irresponsible youth who has problems with law-enforcement agencies. Hence it is very clear that they are dangerous on my family and the families living in the street.

The other vital question here: why you have authority to evacuate pretty immediately tenants or animals from dwellings in the council area, but you are so slow and hesitant to do so in this case? Has anything to do here with favouritism and even more?

As law-abiding residents and rate-payers we need either swift action on this case. Alternatively we need strong explanation of the reasons for slow response and lack of action.

We do not want to start thinking that there is something fishy deals related to tribalism and even further dirty deals to allow the law breaking to go on.

Jamal Daoud

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