Residents unable to use facilities after retirement village flooded
When it comes to retirement, the Mount Gilead Estate promises the perfect balance of contemporary living and country charm.
A promotional video claims that “from open plans to smart environmental design, it makes everyday life so simple and easy.”
But some residents of the development near Campbelltown in Sydney’s southwest are unhappy.
Lynette and Tony Lloyd’s villa has flooded twice in the past four months, with their master bedroom waterlogged due to an internal leak.
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“It didn’t take long to realize we made a big mistake,” Tony said.
“There had been a lot of rain and that night there was a heavy downpour.
“We stayed here for three weeks and mold started to appear in the house and all over the house and cabinets.”
Lynette added: “I just want to live a quiet life but I want to live in a decent place.”
With Lynette being chronically asthmatic, she and Tony were shipped to a nearby hotel, while the damage from the first flood was repaired.
When they got home they thought it was fixed, but six weeks later they said it had happened again.
“The rug had been down for eight weeks and here we go again,” Lynette said.
“We both have depression,” Tony said.
“We expected to have a well-built and safe house.
“Fix this fucking place so we can live in it, otherwise pay us and we’ll leave.”
As they wait for workers to repair the leak, Tony and Lynette are not alone.
Neighbor Gayle Stone has also been staying at a hotel since two of her rooms flooded.
“They took my mat out and they’re checking everywhere to try and stop, to see what’s going on,” she said, adding that it was “very frustrating.”
Chris Fiz says in his street, inhabitant after inhabitant, to have had water problems.
“Out of 12 villas in a row from my home, 10 had very poor results with the waterproofing,” he said.
Resident Craig Browne sits on the Residents’ Committee.
He thinks there are more than 70 to 80 villas affected by water seepage.
“Some have been flooded two or three times, so I don’t think that’s acceptable,” he said.
In a statement, village management said: “Mount Gilead Estate, similar to much of South West Sydney, has recently experienced unprecedented record rainfall which has caused widespread flooding in the area.
“The investigation and repairs are currently being undertaken at no cost to residents.”
Paul Singer, CEO of village owner Australian Retirement Holdings, apologized.
“I would like to say that I’m so sorry this happened,” he said. A topical matter.
Singer said he believed the water issues were resolved after the first flood.
“It’s the volume of water, it’s not an excuse, we want to fix these problems, we are in the process of fixing these problems,” he said.
“In March we tested the houses to make sure everything had been done accordingly, then during the heavy rains in July there is damage and we are chasing it.”
But Chris and Craig say the Mount Gilead estate’s problems run much deeper.
“There are a lot of disgruntled residents here. We pay full freight, but the amenities advertised just aren’t available,” Craig said.
Residents say the golf course has been closed for 10 months.
Instead, it is used as a passing lane for construction trucks.
The men’s hangar is also out of service.
The outdoor pool is closed on weekends.
“The clubhouse needs to be finished, the golf course needs to be finished, the bowling green needs to be finished,” Craig said.
When asked if levies would be reduced due to facility closures, Singer said he was “open.”
“We manage the village very closely, all the money that comes in goes to the people, to the village,” he said.
“The golf course has been closed since October and we hope it will be running as soon as we have a weather break and we can finish it and that should, as soon as we have a good weather break, (be) three months.
As for the pool, he said: ‘That would mean another member of staff working on the weekends and the residents don’t want to pay for that.’
Some residents say they want to move out, but they’re stuck because they just can’t afford the exit fees.
And with at least a hundred more villas being built, locals are pleading with the owner to take care of those already there, before letting anyone else in.
Resident Diedre Barry and her friends are calling for calm.
“During COVID, we have to remember that the labor supply was very low,” she said.
“Builders are really really hurting. I know we’re not the only retirement village like this.”
But Chris said it was tough on the residents.
“What does that do to people emotionally? I think everyone is really sad, the place is dead,” he said.