Man claims council's 'poor management' lost his life savings
AN IPSWICH man claims he is a victim of poor management within the Ipswich City Council after losing his life savings when the property was rezoned without his knowledge.
Glenn Christofferson purchased land at 16 Lower Albert St in Goodna in 2010.
He was assured by the Ipswich City Council the property was zoned as residential land and could be built upon, with no flooding expected after Wivenhoe Dam was built.
During the one-in-100-year flood event in 2011 Mr Christofferson's vacant Goodna block was inundated with water.
Six years later when Mr Christofferson spoke with the council about finally building on the property he was advised it had been rezoned.
He said the council had sent a letter addressed him in 2014 stating 'his' land at 18 Lower Albert St would be assessed for rezoning.
Mr Christofferson, who does not own number 18, believed it was a letter sent by mistake and that his property next door would not be affected.
But several years later he was advised by the council he would almost certainly be unable to ever build on the Goodna property because it had been zoned as a flood area.
"I was informed that a notice had been published in the newspaper, and that was all that they were legally required to do," he said.
"When I asked about compensation or a council buy-back I was informed that I only had a certain amount of time following the notice published in the newspaper to seek compensation, and that time had passed long ago."
He now believes the council didn't do enough to inform him of the rezoning.
"The defence that there was a public notice in the newspaper seems to be an incredibly weak defence," he said.
He wants the council to purchase his property - valued about $350,000 - and set it aside as a flood-prone area.
The small-business owner pursued the matter through the council's legal department but was told no compensation would be issued.
He slammed the council's rezoning process and questioned how information "which is so vitally important to me" only needed to be put in a newspaper.
"The council has many ways in which to contact me directly, and never miss sending me a rates notice where I have to pay them for services and benefits which I will most likely never receive, but when it comes to notifying me about an issue which would wipe away my entire savings and equity, they feel that a notice in a newspaper is sufficient," he said.
"My life savings were invested in this piece of land, and it was intended to be the location of my future dwelling where I would spend my married life and raise my children.
"Due to the rezoning, it is effectively worthless, and worse than this, is a continual expense to me from which I will never receive a benefit."
Mr Christofferson has written to several councillors including Paul Pisasale, Paul Tully and Andrew Antoniolli to seek an outcome.
A spokesman for the council said Mr Christofferson was formally notified about the change in a letter dated April 17, 2014.
"This letter was sent to his residential address in Brisbane and advised how further information could be obtained regarding the proposed zone change and how to make a submission," the council spokesman said.
"The letter specifically advised of the proposed rezoning of the property at 18 Lower Albert Street Goodna, the same address recorded in council's rates system and the same address referred to by Mr Christofferson in his initial correspondence with council on 24 December 2013."
Mr Christofferson said he did not receive the letter.
The council said the preparation, consultation and adoption of amendments change to the Planning Scheme "was undertaken fully in accordance with the prescribed statutory process, with the sending of individual letters to affected property owners". being in addition to the prescribed statutory process".
The situation forced Mr Christofferson to write to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, believing he had been a victim of the council's poor policies.
"I ask you to please do all that you can so that this situation is rectified as soon as possible," he wrote to Ms Palaszczuk.