News

Builder 'held to ransom' over sewerage connection

Local builder Paul McPhillips.
Local builder Paul McPhillips. Rob Williams

AN IPSWICH builder says a government agency is "holding him to ransom" over a sewerage connection it didn't even know existed.

Queensland Urban Utilities is refusing to release certificates to Paul McPhillips, proving the connection's existence and without it his council building plans won't be approved.

Each time Mr McPhillips fulfils Queensland Urban Utilities requests to pay fees with an understanding the certificate will then be issued, he's been given another request.

The latest is a demand for him to supply CCTV footage from inside the sewer line to prove it's in good working order.

Queensland Urban Utilities says it's acting under the legislation and is working with Mr McPhillips to resolve the issues.

Mr McPhillips, who has been working as a builder in Ipswich for 14 years, isn't convinced saying each time he deals with QUU, he experiences "gross incompetence and misinformation".

The block in question is at Flinders View and is in the process of being subdivided.

The two separate sewerage connections were already installed when Mr McPhillips bought the land.

The pipes are clearly visible but QUU has no record of the additional connection.

In November QUU told Mr McPhillips he needed to prove the connection existed or pay a fee for a new connection.

He was assured that once the photographs were received the certificate would be issued.

When the photographic evidence was supplied, Mr McPhillips was told he then needed to pay $52 for an engineering search, again with the promise the certificate would then be issued.

The fee was paid, but then QUU told him to submit a new, and different, application so they can "capture" the relevant infrastructure charges.

He was told to pay $5373.91 in infrastructure charges, for the sewerage connection with QUU saying there was no record the fee had already been paid when the lines were installed.

Initially he refused to pay, believing the fee would have been paid by the original developer, but without the certificate the subdivision can't be finalised, so he paid.

Instead of issuing the relevant certificates as promised, QUU has now asked for Mr McPhillips to pay for CCTV footage of the sewer line to ensure it's in good working order.

On top of that, it wants him to make an application for an easement to cover the sewerage infrastructure, at a cost of $1320. That $1320 covers only the cost of filing the document - that request was the last straw.

 

COSTLY EXERCISE: The sewer line outside the home of local builder Paul McPhillips (inset).
COSTLY EXERCISE: The sewer line outside the home of local builder Paul McPhillips (inset). Rob Williams

"It's an absolute joke to be honest," Mr McPhillips says.

"It's their infrastructure - how is it my responsibility to ensure it's in good order? And in the same breath, how is it my problem they don't have records showing the infrastructure fees were paid?

"If we put an easement there, we won't be able to build the house we want.

"Their records are so poor, they didn't even know the connection was there in the first place.

"I feel like they just change the rules to suit themselves and squeeze as much money as possible out of everyone.

"See developers just pass these costs onto the customers without them knowing because it's easier than arguing. The saying in Ipswich is 'the developer pays' but the developer actually never pays, it's the consumer that unknowingly picks up the bill.

"So QUU is just taking money off people who don't know better. The number of times I have rung up and been given the completely wrong information.... I'm not an idiot, I know how this works."

According to the QUU website, there are no specific rules as to when infrastructure charges apply, instead they are assessed on an individual basis for each development.

QUU manager Glenn Ziernik says infrastructure charges cover the cost of extra demand placed on the network from an additional lot and the fact the infrastructure is already installed, doesn't mean charges don't apply.

He also says an easement is a common condition of many development approvals.

"In this case, it was necessary to ensure our crews can access a sewer maintenance hole for activities such as inspections, cleaning and clearing potential blockages," Mr Ziernik said.

"We encourage developers to become familiar with what's required to meet current legislation and design codes."

QUU initially declined to inspect the property, first suggested by Mr McPhillips in November. After being contacted by the QT, QUU has organised a meeting at the property on Monday.

Topics:  builder development ipswich quu


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Shute Harbour boat ramp to open tomorrow

Whitsunday Fishing World manager Grant Spees called for patience on the Shute Harbour boat ramp earlier this month.

The Shute Harbour boat ramp will be open as of tomorrow

INXS show rockin' the hits in SES fundraiser

MUSIC FEST: The Australian INXS show will appear at Whitsunday SESsions.

Be there on Saturday to experience Whitsunday SESsions

Lagoon re-opening date now months away

The Airlie Beach Lagoon was closed due to damage from Tropical Cyclone Debbie in March.

The lagoons re-opening date has been extended

Local Partners

Adani deal: Qld Govt finally agrees on royalty scheme

STATE Cabinet has agreed on a new royalty payment scheme for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine plus others in the Surat Basin

Debbie's graveyard: Major auction to clear written-off cars

Auto Repair and Towing Service owner Shane Muntelwit at the salvage yard behind Mackay Airport, which has become a graveyard for about 150 vehicles destroyed or written off by Cyclone Debbie.

A salvage yard has become a makeshift graveyard

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

JUST WHEN you thought you’d all of Bella Hadid’s supermodel figure — she gets her Cannes out on the red carpet of an AIDS gala dinner in France.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

INXS show rockin' the hits in SES fundraiser

MUSIC FEST: The Australian INXS show will appear at Whitsunday SESsions.

Be there on Saturday to experience Whitsunday SESsions

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Is this the talent you get when you limit electronics?

Cassidy Kilburn in the Get the Beat International Dance Competition.

Cassidy, 11, preparing for national dance championships

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!