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Sewer pipe fix delayed

ALMOST a year since Central first reported on repair delays and security concerns at Waterloo Green, public housing residents have said things were worse than ever reported Robert Burton-Bradley in Central of 7 January 2009.

Frustrated residents have said repairs take too long, or do not happen at all.

Adding insult to injury, an action plan drawn up 12 months ago to tackle repairs, security and other issues in the area, has yet to be implemented.

A Department of Housing document obtained by Central shows that in many instances, basic repairs can take days.

A broken hot water heater takes 48 hours to repair, a broken safety hand railing can take up to 72 hours and a pest problem can take up to 20 working days.

Resident precinct representative Ross Smith said that as a landlord, the department was not honouring its duty of care.

“Interesting that we now have to wait some 48 hours to get our hot water services repaired - too bad for the chronically ill or disabled that require a good supply of hot water for health and hygiene purposes,” he said. “Especially with storm season upon us and a minimum time frame of 24 hours to fix a leaking roof.

“Better stock up on tarps, ropes and ladders and have the SES hotline number at the ready because you’ll need them.”

Precinct representative Simon Shabshay spoke of a situation where a broken sewerage pipe on the fourth floor of the Marton building at Waterloo Green was allowed to leak for four months.

“For four months the tenants were forced to breathe sewer vapour which is negative for their health,” he said.

A department spokesman denied claims that cleaning and repairs were not being properly carried out.

“All maintenance and cleaning is done on a regular basis as per our service contractors’ contract specifications,” the spokesman said. “Typically appliance problems such as hot water and stoves will be attended to within 48-72 hours, while more urgent matters such as sewer problems will be attended to within 24 hours.

The Waterloo Green Action Plan, drawn up in September last year by Redfern police, Sydney Council, the Housing Department and residents, recommended safety and amenity improvements at Waterloo Green.

The plan has yet to be implemented, and graffiti and broken lights observed by Central in February and July last year remain, despite claims by the department that cleaning and repairs have been undertaken.

“The Waterloo Green Action Plan is being implemented by a number of agencies,” a department spokesman said.

“[Last year] Housing NSW spent over $100,000 doing an upgrade of the lights on Waterloo Green.”