Builder accused of stealing land
IT APPEARS to be a classic case of big business trying to run roughshod over small business.
One of Australia's larger building companies is believed to have taken land in Gympie without asking.
The construction of a Coles Express service station on River Rd (Bruce Hwy) has encroached on Douglas and Loretta Lui's rental property by about 3m. They say Hutchinson Builders did not ask permission to carry out any operational works on their land and certainly did not ask if they could excavate his land.
Through their lawyer, the Luis made first contact with Hutchinson Builders. The response was "basically get lost" and that they already had the tenant's permission.
"That's a joke," Mr Lui said, adding that they had written several times to try to resolve the issue but it appeared the builders were trying to draw out the process.
RESPECTED Gympie business people Douglas and Loretta Lui tried to arrange an onsite meeting with Hutchinson Builders in an effort to resolve the issue, but felt they were fobbed off.
"They said they would be available in two weeks' time, but that was a long time ago," Mr Lui said.
Gympie Regional Council's Planning and Development chairman, Councillor Ian Petersen, pulled out the development application yesterday to confirm what he already suspected.
"We've researched the file and it clearly says that no construction is to occur outside the property boundary, so whatever is happening there causing concern is certainly not endorsed by council," he said.
"This sounds like a civil matter... Council approval (of the development) specifically says that no construction is to be done outside the property."
Mr Lui pointed out some of breaches; the removal of land and construction operations being carried out on the property, which include the blocking of a stormwater drain on his property, as well as sandbags positioned to guide run-off down the backstairs of his leased retail premises.
He said he had already made several written attempts to resolve the issue, but had not received a suitable response.
There were six specific things Mr Lui required. First he wanted to see copies of the council approval to do work on his land. Secondly he wanted to see the plan for drainage works, as rainwater runoff historically channelled down the hill into his backyard and on to the service station site. And while the builder has agreed to compensate the Lui's, they've asked for two months rent to also be supplied to their tenant, The G Spot, to compensate for disturbance to the business. The Lui's also asked for a detailed works itinerary and precise plans of what works will be carried out and when.
Hutchinson Builders declined to comment yesterday.