Thursday, 12 March 2009

Plod, Plod, Plodding

Things are moving along slowly with the new farm, we've partly secured the ability to put a fence around the road reserve rather than having to install stock grids on the lane, which will reduce our costs by a few thousand dollars, expecially given we can do the fencing work ourselves. We've got to submit a DA amendment for this, and also to have a zincalume shed. Yes, even though the DA specified zincalume, and the guy from council said he would re-issue it, they obviously scoured through it to find a way out of that, discovering that I hadn't included the words "not create reflections" in my DA's statement of environmental effects. That I'd said it was mostly not visible, and where visible, only from distances over 400m doesn't seem to count. Council staff are not to be expected to draw the logical conclusion that an invisible building cannot give off reflections.

The shed is to be located up behind the trees, just right of centre.

At the moment I'm waiting on council, yet again, to let me know what to do about the design of the laneway intersection. I need to submit a plan for that with the DA amendment, and it needs to be up to BAR/BAL standard, which means "BAsic Right/BAsic Left" hand turns, or slightly widened at the end for layfolk. The trouble is the sample diagrams council sent me are for roads 6m wide or more, not for country lanes about 3.5m wide. It seems they need to think carefully about this matter, as I've been waiting three days for a response telling me what I should do. All the while our shed is slowly degrading out on the block.

On the money making initiative of council, the laneway plans are a prime example of their efficiency. When I first enquired I was told to submit plans with the DA amendment application, with the basic idea being they would review them and get me to amend them where required. Great idea, another DA amendment fee each time I had to upgrade the plans would make them rich I imagine. So I set off on a different course, chasing up everything that's needed to create a good plan, first time through. That way I shouldn't need to amend it, and so shouldn't need to pay out more money. The problem with that approach is actually getting the information from them in a timely fashion. In five more days it will be a month since they issued the dodgy DA, and all that time has been spent trying to get them to provide authoritative answers to the issues they've raised so that I can submit an amendment. These guys are certainly not improving people's impressions of councils.

Oddly enough I was at a community forum with our current council, and they admitted that they were having trouble with communication, but had identified the issue and were working very hard to improve their performance. I wonder if they could send some notes over to the new council?

I didn't mention it in the last post, but I guess you can gather from the proceeding that we've decided to forge ahead, at least with the initial stages of the project, and will re-assess it at a later date. The DW was feeling very, very down about the whole thing, and was more than keen to pack it in. At the time we went over the fact that there wasn't much chance of us being able to sell the block as the next people to look at it certainly weren't going to take on all these troubles. Thankfully, a bit of optimism has returned. At the very least we will get the access problem sorted and get the shed up. This eliminates the only major problems with council, and so gives us, or the people we sell it to if we decide we've had enough, a free run at building the house, oh, and using the block, seeing as we supposedly shouldn't even be out visiting the block without that legal access via an open laneway. :-|

Just a quick addendum on the current place, the blog is called the Flood Street Farmlet so I should mention it occasionally I guess! We've had a few bits and pieces of fruit, peaches and plums were hit hard by the fly, same for the tomatoes, though we did have some nice ones. Sadly we let a lot of maintenance slide trying to get things going over the new place, and moving stuff from the FIL's out there, which consumed a few weekends. Cucumbers are this years great success story, they've been just great, and we've had some really nice corn. We've had a few drops of decent rain and things are looking good.

We've had few bites on the sale of this place, though quite a few visitors through the website for a good look. I really do need to update that, as we've also completed a lot of outstanding tasks, though of course there are still a lot more...


Bron said...

Good luck with the ongoing battle. And please tell DW I'm thinking of her as she wonders whether it's all worth it. I totally understand!

Geoff said...

Thanks Bron! I will let Claire know, she'll appreciate that she's not alone.