Columns
Residents' Association Image

Residents' Association

Helping ensure your amenity
Read more >>

Business in Southbank Image

Business in Southbank

Enjoy winter at Bluetrain
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

A siren song calling for fair play
Read more >>

Montague Community Alliance

Understanding our history
Read more >>

Federal Politics Image

Federal Politics

Defending human rights
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Flammable cladding: residents ignored
Read more >>

Southbanker Image

Southbanker

A sound love of life
Read more >>

History Image

History

Police Stables - Mounted Branch
Read more >>

Yarra River Business Association Image

Yarra River Business Association

Looking for the reset button for river businesses
Read more >>

Skypad Living Image

Skypad Living

Safe and secure in our vertical villages
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Injury, see your GP and be your best!
Read more >>

Councillor Profile Image

Councillor Profile

The making of a lord mayor
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Doggie Dollar
Read more >>

Southbank Fashion Image

Southbank Fashion

Spring racing in Southbank
Read more >>

Street Smarts Image

Street Smarts

Power Street – Southbank
Read more >>

Owners corporation law

08 Oct 2015

Encouraging vertical communities to innovate

The best owners’ corporations (OCs) are always looking to innovate, to experiment with new modes of living and to provide a diversity of services and activities to encourage their local community to come closer together.

Communal areas such as rooftops and gardens are one such piece of common property that can be transformed into areas where volunteer residents can come together to socialise and be productive for their community.

A growing number of buildings in Melbourne are inviting local beekeepers to establish a colony of bees on their rooftops. Residents have been quick to assume beekeeping duties and don the protective gear to perform maintenance duties.  

Bees play a crucial role in keeping an ecosystem balanced and the well-reported decline of bee populations worldwide due to disease and other factors means that there is a demand for greater numbers of bee colonies to be established and maintained.

Aside from the community collaboration and goodwill, there is also the added benefit of a healthy supply of fresh honey to be harvested and distributed among residents.

Rooftop herb gardens and veggie patches are also becoming more and more common, and provide residents with the opportunity to use their “green fingers” and have a “potter” in the garden while also providing residents with a source of fresh herbs and vegetables.

For buildings considering these types of innovations, there are some practical and legal issues to consider, such as:

  • Does the OC provide more than just the common property for the activity, i.e. – contribute funds from its administrative fund to establish and maintain the activity?
  • How is rooftop access to be provided safely to residents?
  • Are residents “pottering” in the garden or tending to the bee colony considered to be “voluntary workers” under the OC’s policy of insurance? and
  • How does the building determine who receives the precious honey or the tasty herbs and fresh vegetables?

I’m still waiting for the legal case to come across my desk about enforcing rules of the OC against the resident that took too much honey, or was caught on CCTV harvesting the entire mint and basil plants for their cocktail evening.

Whatever the benefits and drawbacks of these types of ideas, it should be the case that OCs remain committed to blue-sky thinking about ways and opportunities to use the common property and their resources to bring as many residents of the building together.

After all, a close-knit building is a true community, and a source of support for each other.

Roof-top yoga at sunrise anyone?

Tom Bacon

Strata Title Lawyers

Stay in touch with Southbank. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Southbank Local News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.