Eden lime dust damage could lead to class action, new mayor anticipates

More than 40 households reportedly had their properties impacted by roadworks completed in Eden in July, with significant damage to vehicles and homes. Photo: Joanne Korner

More than 40 households reportedly had their properties impacted by roadworks completed in Eden in July, with significant damage to vehicles and homes. Photo: Joanne Korner

Newly elected mayor Russell Fitzpatrick met with Eden residents whose properties were affected by the lime dust incident in early July.

Cr Fitzpatrick took with him the resolutions from the council meeting held on September 16, acknowledging that several residents within Eden had impacts to personal property as a result of road stabilisation works undertaken in Eden by council's subcontractor Stabilco.

Meeting with Eden residents just a day after being elected to the mayor's role, Cr Fitzpatrick said there had still been no reply from the insurer of Stabilco as to how it will handle the matter.

"It's disgraceful," he said.

"Most residents are still getting quotes to repair or replace their roofs and assessments for figures on how much damage has been caused across the board," Cr Fitzpatrick said.

Cr Robyn Bain had put forward to council it should note the unique circumstances surrounding this matter, including the distress caused to members of the community by recent bushfires and the impacts on Eden as a border community with respect to COVID-19.

In the council meeting, Anthony McMahon, BVSC director of assets and operations, said roadworks had been scheduled in Merimbula immediately after the works in Eden with the same contractor, but had not gone ahead.

"It was decided unless they could clearly and confidently demonstrate at that time there wouldn't be a repeat of what had occurred, the project in Merimbula wouldn't progress in the same way.

"The reason nothing was stopped in Eden at the time was we weren't aware of the consequences and significance of them until the end - we identified issues during the work but didn't think it was at a scale that warranted shutting the job down. By the time it was finished we had more information, which is why we changed our approach," Mr McMahon said.

"We will continue with more trialing of technique prior to implementing larger scale on a project," he said.

Cr Fitzpatrick said he anticipated a class action from residents against the council subcontractor.

However, while the council continued to maintain it was not liable for any damages, he said it was more about council's responsibility to look after residents.

"It's a moral obligation, not a legal obligation," he said.

Cr Kristy McBain expressed concern in regards to setting up an expectation that council can do something long term, suggesting residents may have to take their own action and it isn't something on which council should be leading them.

The residents will meet with Crs Fitzpatrick and Bain again on October 8.

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This story Delay in insurance handling of lime damage dispute, 'disgraceful' first appeared on Magnet.