Hills Shire Council leaves resident financially and physically disadvantaged

I fell over and broke my left knee, broke half off one front tooth, had root canal therapy on the second and damaged a third as well as cuts and abrasions and vertigo when the heel of my shoe became lodged in one of the council's poorly maintained footpaths. Council sent a sleeze to my home who passed himself off as being an assessor from an Insurance Company, which he wasn't, he asserted that I wasn't in enough pain to have broken a knee. I was offered a sum of money but when I attempted to claim it I was told the offer had been withdrawn, despite the fact that no date appears anywhere on either the letter of offer or document stating the amount. Despite my many requests Council will not compensate me as they are no longer legally bound, although morally responsible, and my requests to the councillers proved fruitless who wish to follow council's line.

If you come to Castle Hill make sure you don't get your shoe caught on council's footpath as you may find it costly.

The solution, simple, reimburse me my expenses.

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This pathetic council is obviously hiding behind the statute of limitations which is a legal position rather than doing the right thing and paying the out of pocket expenses for this poor woman.

Shame on you Hills Shire

We all know how poorly maintained these footpaths are. I can't believe that the council won't reimburs this woman's costs. She went through so much pain. Absolutely shocking response and treatment from you guys. BIG shame on you Hills Shire.

Shame Hills Council Shame.
Obviously a valid claim.
Do the right thing!

Honour your offer of compensation Hills Shire Council! Why should a person have to suffer when you can't be bothered to maintain you own footpaths. At least reimburse this lady's medical expenses.

I agree with this. The woman is obviously scarred from the incident that I'm sure she was never interested to be involved in. Any other person in this situation would be equally upset, and would expect some kind of compensation whether it be medical expenses covered or even a decent apology.

Was there an apology made?

Is she actually asking for a lump sum of money? I'm sure she wrote all she asks is that her medical be paid for. is that so hard a responsability??????

With all respect to this woman, is it relevent to consider the age and existing physical condition of this woman prior to the accident? I would like to know how she really coped from then and how it affects her today. Has anyone really cared to consider how she feels today. People have what seem to be insignificant accidents in their teens and suffer for a long time, I know from experience.

Pull your finger out people, I'm sure you all get paid good money to do your job. Lucky you didn't deal with me!

An apology, are you kidding? That would be admitting fault and Hills Shire Council would never do that.

I was walking along enjoying the day but as I went to step onto my left foot there was nothing there. I had a half formed thought of "what has happened to my foot" but was cut short by the realisation that I was looking at the footpath and with sudden horror knew I was falling. With that the footpath came up and smashed into my face.

Over the roaring in my head I heard a male voice asking me if I was alright and offering to help me to my feet. As I stood up I could feel the jagged edge of my right front tooth and attempted to remove the broken pieces from my top lip and mouth. As soon as I was able to speak I asked "what on earth happened to my foot?"

Once I was on my feet I found I was unable to walk and the gentleman who had helped me found me a chair, brought me a glass of water and provided me with a box of tissues to mop the blood from my face.

This gentleman told my husband that the business owners had regularly requested council repair that section of footpath and said an elderly lady who had fallen some time earlier had to be carried away by an ambulance.

I reported my fall to council the following day but was told it had to done in writting. Ten days later an "investigator" accompanied me to the site and examined the hole. Four months later and still requiring x-rays for my knee I checked to see if the hole had been repaired and I was surprised to see it had not. From time to time friends and family would tell me the hole was still there and it wasn't until after I had been advised that council's offer had expired and the statute of limitations had expired that the hole was finally filled.

Council can not argue it was not aware of the state of the footpath as I had advised in writting. How many other potential victims were there? The lack of action on the part of council shows not only callous disregard but depraved indifference. The people responsible can only be described as reprehensible and abhorent.

This poor woman has suffered enough without having to pay for medical expenses. Baulkham Hills Council, I hope you will do what is morally correct and compensate her.

This site will only work if councils listen to the gripes and respond or fix the problem. If they are allowed to ignore and get away with doing nothing this site will fail, its pretty clear.I mean what happens if people complain and nothing is done.NOTHING!!!!
It needs publicity.
If you want to put something together for a full page ad then I may foot the bill.If we have enough support.
Gets publicity for the site and shames the councils.
Needs some thought.
Keep the momentum going.
Maybe ACA , today tonight,or an ad in the SMH or Tele.
Start a thread Chris and lets see how many people really care??thats what the site is about ,people caring about their community.

The real problem is that we are dealing with arrogant overpaid public servants who are without integrity, morals or consience, what else would explain their behaviour in refusing to honour the offer made by Council?

The Councillors are no better. They are elected by we, the rate payers to represent us but unfortunately they seem to be unaware of this and are only concerned with pushing their own barrows. They are in fact usless, expensive puppets.

There have been 5 complaints or gripes on this site with numerous comments and the response from Council and Councillors........ NOTHING.

Some councils have responded and fixed the problems but Hills Shire remain silent cowards. Is this in fact proof that they are of no use to us, in which case why are we forced to render our rates to them?

My complaint remians the same:- reimburse me the costs of my medical treatment!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Anon. I would love to get some feedback on CouncilGripe and I encourage anyone to make suggestions on how to improve the site through adding functionality or getting the word out to the masses.

I will create a discussion post asking for suggestions shortly, otherwise please feel free to directly email me at chris@councilgripe.com

Great Chris,The idea of having a gripe is to have something done about the gripe. Councils are not doing enough.
So where now.
How do we make Councils more accountable, I think thats the idea.
There was a cracking remark on the Nine news last week about Woollahra council. If thats how people think, we need to rally the troops.

I must admit I have notice some improvements in Double Bay.So I think the Gripe site is doing a Job.

Oh come on, I'm all for councils' doing their job but how about you take responsibility for your own actions. People trip over - it happens. Don't try to milk money from the council over it - if there was no footpath you'd whinge. If they put one in you try to cash in on it. Be realistic please!

For your information Bailey I didn't trip on the footpath, the heel of my flat shoe became lodged. Did you happen to look at the photo of the hole by any chance? That particular section of footpath was a disgrace with more than one hole, a raised section, cracks and bird droppings.

An elderly lady had already fallen on that section of footpath and had to be taken away by ambulance.

I am not trying to "milk" the council as you put it, I was offered a sum of money that didn't even cover my expenses but when I attempted to claim it council had a change of heart as I was no longer able to take it to court. Council obviously thought I had a genuine claim until "the statute of limitations" expired.

Are you a councillor by any chance? You certainly sound like one!!!!!! Perhaps you should try to have a bit of heart!!!!

Councils do their jobs, thats a joke.
Bailey what are you on??
I wouldnt take much notice of Bailey if you feel there is a case see a lawyer.

Many thanks for you comment. It is comforting to see some people have an open mind.

Ten days after my fall council sent a sleezy man to see me who looked at my shoes and made me return to the scene of the fall where he viewed the hole in the footpath. I was then advised that council wanted to settle the matter in an amicable manner so I saw no reason to consult a lawyer. I made the mastake of believing that I was dealing with an honest and trustworthy entity.

I had X-rays every month for 9 months, physiotherapy every week, I had extensive dental work and had to consult an endontist, orthodontist and had my teeth, drilled, filled, bleached, ground and filed and it went on for over a year.

I was offered a pittiful sum of money by council who delayed dealing with me, passed the matter back to the sleezy man who had visited me, all the while wasting time until it was too late for me to go to court.

Seeing a lawyer would not do me any good as there is a time limit in which to claim. It has taught me a valuable lesson:-

Never believe anything written or said by a council as it is written on the wind.

I have provoided council all the details of my costs and that is all I have asked for. This could hardly be called "milking".

Today tonight?
You will find the move if prodded.
Even small local claims court , its $96 if the claim is under $10,000. and the $96 goes on the small claim.

If they have offered an amount then they are surely admitting fault.

Thank you for the tip.

I am still in posession of the letter of offer and had considered the small claims court.

There was no doubt about the hole in the footpath and the council was most certainly at fault as it had failed to repair it. The gentleman who helped me to my feet told my husbnad another lady had fallen and I was told at the medical centre there had been "other accidents". As council does inspections it had to be aware of the state of the footpath.

While I have never had much confidence in council, its behaviour on this ocassion shows just how abhorent the people running it actually are and each and every one of the councillors does not deserve a single vote at the next elections.

A person should be able to walk our streets without having to look down constantly at thier feet.

Wake up Bailey! Footpaths are the council's responsibility. There was a big hole in the foothpath. She didn't fall over her own feet and you can't keep your eyes on the foothpath 100% of the time while you walk. This poor woman tripped in that hole and all she ask is her medical costs back. She's not trying to milk anyone.

Thank you so much.

We are not living in a third world country. We pay taxes and rates so we can have good roads and footpaths etc. We deserve to have good footpaths and the maintenance of these footpaths are the council's responsibility. If someone got hurt because of bad maintenance, the council should do the right thing and reimburse that person. This woman is too decent because she doesn't ask much - only her medical expenses back. She should ask for pain and suffering also - and you've treated her badly so far too. It is obvious that this woman isn't trying to milk the council. Not everyone has a criminal mindset you know.
I'm amazed by your cold and cruel attitude towards this poor woman. Council please be fair and do the right thing and reimburse this woman the costs of her medical treatment.
This could've happened to your own mothers, and how would you feel then?

you say that Council are no longer legally bound. Why?

The time frame in which to initate legal action is three years after which the party responsible can no longer be taken to court.

However, I was recently told that in some cases the statute of limitations is 12 years. The Law Society is sending me a list of solicitors who specalise in personal injury and once I receive it I will be consulting one to determine if this applies to my case.

So why have you not sought legal advice before now. It seems like a long time to wait.

I had no reason to seek legal advice as council offered me a sum of money if I agreed not to take any legal action. It wasn't until I attempted to settle my claim and claim the amount offered that cluncil had a third party write to me telling me the offer had expired and that I was statute barred. I did then seek confirmation that I was in fact staute barred and was told that I could retain a solicitor but the costs would probably exceed the amount I was attempting to claim. What is the point of my being even more out of pocket?

Had the councillors seen fit they could have made the decision to reimburse me. I wrote to each and every councillor but they are impotent, full of self importance but utterly and totally useless.

Someone has suggested that I take responsability for falling. Had I tripped on nothing I would have but I did in fact get the heel of my shoe caught in a hole that council was aware of.

What about council accepting responsabilty for neglecting to repair the footpath?

There are laws about trip hazzards and holes are most certainly a hazzard. That would have been the reason I was sent a letter offering me an amount of money if I did not take legal action as I guess council thought it might be found responsible.

Had my motives be nefarious (suggested by the same person) I would had hobbled on my crutches to the nearest solicitor instead of believeing council when it suggested it wanted to settle the mattter amicably.

So come on council, honour your offer and reimburse my expenses please.

You know my opinion on the matter but I'm interested in yours. Do you believe that you are responsible in any way at all for this incident? Also what do you believe to be an 'accident' as opposed to an incident where someone can be held responsible. There seems to be an abundance of people who no longer believe in accidents and have to point the finger at someone for anything and everything.

Bailey, I am not interested in an argument with you.

Not arguing - merely trying to find out why you think you're entitled to a portion of our rate money which is no different to asking the council where it is spent. Also interested as to whether, as a resident of the Shire, you think this should apply only to your case or if it should extend to all trips, falls, injuries, etc sustained in a public place within the shire. And if so, where do we draw the line on what is an accident and what is someone elses fault and also how do we fund all these claims?

This site is called "council gripe" where people express thier probelm or gripe with council in the hope it can be rectified. It is not a forum for Baileys pet pick.

In case you have missed the point:-

Hills Shire Council offered me a small sum of money if I did not take legal action after I sustained personal injury after I had a fall. Do you think for one minute an offer would have been made if council had not been at fault?

When I attempted to collect the offer it refused to honour it.

Councils have a thing called "insurance", ever heard of it? If you live in this shire you should have as the rate payers paid thousands of dollars some years ago when Mayor Griffiths and Mr Mead went on a juant looking for a cheaper policy. In recent times Mayor Phillips also saw the need for an expensive trip looking for insurance.

While council told me I would be dealing with an insurnace company, in fact it was not and it has an ABN which does not entitle it to deal with money, so it is breaking the law.

If you do not wish to contribute anything constructive to this site I suggest you find another one as the people here have genuine problems or gripes which they woudl like see acted upon and see the word "fixed" in the box.

I am not after your or anyone elses rate money. I simply want what was offered to me.

I'm not from the shire, but I'd rather see an insurance claim going to someone who may have tripped in a path that may not have been maintained properly, rather than the wages of Council workers who now believe they can get away without addressing problems quickly.

People speed because they think they can get away with it. Put up a camera or a police radar or just an off duty policeman driving around in a police vehicle and you won't risk it will you. Oh and the honest just won't risk it fullstop.

In my view Councils especially those dishonest ones need a deterrent to ensure they do the right thing by the community. The deterrent here is they you pay the medical expenses at least.

I don't agree with these people who claim huge amounts of money for stupid reasons such as $250000 for a bite from a goose, but genuine injuries caused by council negligance is a different matter.

Council offered me a very small amount which would not cover my medical costs as well as an orthodontist bill of $3500, and because I couldn't have the required surgery my knee took the best part of a year before the bones began to knit. I am left with an odd shaped and often painful knee.

Despite the amout being small council is so devoid of anything that can be remotly considered as human it found a way of not paying one cent.

Our Mayor struts around and thinks he is something, a gift to the community but there are some people who feel that even the suggestion that they are a councillor or even work for a council to be an insult.

How is that for a vote of confidence Mr Mayor?

For those that suggest a court or a solicitor is the answer, well that's maybe the way to go but it clearly should not be.

Also you will find that there are a number of these cases going to court and Councils are getting off with the Courts stating although Councils have a duty to repair problems it is also the duty of the individual to be looking at were one is putting their feet.

I agree somewhat with that but nevertheless we are human and not only is it easy to be distracted because of that, but there are numerous other obstacles when one walks these sometimes filthy streets (eg. tree roots raising concrete, cars parked on kerbs, street tree branches protuding into the walkway at face height, dog poop, people, push bikes,...).

So the more the Courts let these lazy incompetent people off, the less these Councils feel they need to do.

The law is complicated and it can be twisted and manipulated as the judge sees fit to protect the criminals and I speak from experience and no I'm not the criminal.

The problem with society is that we have been led to believe the law, the legal system and the courts are there to protect us and that is simply not true anymore.

When you accidently travel through a red light and crash into a vehicle going through a green light. You apologise, hand over your details and put a claim in on your insurance. You pay the excess and pay a higher premium next year.

You also learn to be more careful in future.

In future the same attitude will happening here eg. I go through a green light and someone goes through a red light but I am at fault also because I should have taken more care because I should have realised that someone might go through the red light because they're fumbling with the radio knob.

When are we going to go back to putting honesty first rather than dishonesty and denial first and fatten the pockets of lawyers.

My Council gripe is here:

The quarter of a million dollar debt this aged pensioner has is the defence costs due to her neighbour taking her on rather than the Council.

We live in a sick world when Managers, Mayors and Councillors are paid to perform a duty yet they sit back claiming ignorance denying any responsibility simply on the basis of denial is better than admitting wrong. One has to question how these Managers, Mayor and Councillors sat back and watched an innocent 80 year old pensioner woman suffer and being held responsible for the incompetent actions or inactions of this Council.

And one has to question why 18 unit owners chose to go after a defenceless elderly woman when they knew they clearly knew Council was responsible for the problems occurring and the fact they knew this woman and her family were trying to get the Council to answer to it. Especially when one takes into account that for TWO years they didn't address it nor did they both to advise this woman of the what had occurred and the information they had at hand for TWO years.

Get this story to the forefront and this will show ALL Councils they have a duty to answer to the people they serve. It will also send a message that avoidance and dishonesty, is not what the Australian public want running their communities.

Forget the Premier or The Minister of Local Government (LYNCH) as this Minister advised this womans son to seek legal aid. A council under his area is not performing its duty and rather than do something about it he advises the pensioner to go to the local legal aid office. The exact same attitude as those in Council below him "yeh I'm responsible to address this but I'm not doing anything unless you force me to, through the Courts". "Got the money to do that? Nope. Well that's your problem".

When the media gets hold of this story, this Council won't be sitting there refusing to answer the questions this Council has been refusing to answer and that will send one hell of message to other Councils that the community deserves better than the shit service we currently have had to put up with, in some of these Councils. I emphasis SOME as there are many many respectable Councils and Council workers.

My apologies if you believe the last half of this message shouldn't be posted here. But yes it is a different Council but they all learn from one another. Send a strong message to one and it will flow through to all.

I do not know what your problem is but you have my sympathy. Counil and the councillors are a group of the most dishonest people on the planet. The deputy Mayor told me I should have taken the matter to court. That statement summed up for me the makeup of the man and his lack of integrity. How do these jackasses get elected?

I think it is high time something was done about councils, they must go as they have no useful purpose and are simply a waste of money. I would like to see them get a job in the real world where they would be held accountable for their incompentance. All the department heads of our council should have been sacked years ago. I firmly believe a labotomy is a prerequisite for council employment, what else could explain their lack of common sense and logic.

Did you know there is an Ombudsman for local government? Heavens knows what his role is.

I wish you the best with your council problem.

The problem was an incompetent and negligent act by Canterbury City Council that gave this now 82 yo widow pensioner a debt that now exceeds $250,000.

Then when her son began revealing all the incompetent actions and inactions that led to what occurred, rather than apologise, this Council began to intimidate, threaten and defame her and her son.

Yes, the Ombudsman is currently investigating the conduct of Canterbury City Council from beginning to end in relation to this issue. An issue that this Council believed it had washed it's filthy hands of. An issue that the NSW Ombudsman's preliminary investigation found was well worthy of a more formal and thorough investigation.

The community knows exactly what justice is and the media avenues and sites like this are the best way to seek that justice and have the Councils know we have had enough of their bureaucratic responses that is, when you are lucky enough to get a response from them.

One thing also to remember is to put everything in writing as they can't hide their incompetent and negligent actions and inactions when you hold the real truth in your hands. When you are advised of something verbally, note it and put it back to them in writing immediately.

Checkout this site and what this Mayor states about this councilgripe site and the impression he gives of his functioning Council. Remember that this is the council that is currently under investigation by the NSW Ombudsman for the issues I have barely touched on here.

He wants the community to use the current system this Council has in place. Odd considering Mr Mallone is still waiting for the reply to a complaint that the Mayor acknowledged receiving on the Aug 21st 2008.


Also if you have the time to do it, post your views on that site congratulating not only the paper for running that article but also the chap who put and thought about putting this councilgripe site up.

Remember we all gripe loudly but rarely do we praise loudly.

I will certainly look at that site and I hope this elderly lady receives some justice, something councils know nothing about. Councils are very good at buck passing and spinning a yarn. Their catch cry is "deny, deny deny" and I believe their policy is on of dishonesty. And strangely they all seem to be exactly the same!!!!

My husband received a fine from a council other than the one in which we live and as it was so ridiculous he chose to fight the matter in court. Even though the council lost and the judge agreed with my husband council asked that my husband be ordered to pay its costs. Can you believe that?

Councils should have to answer to someone, it is supposed to be the ratepayers who are represented by the councillors but somewhere over time they all have become a law unto themselves doing as they wish and spending our rates with wild abandon.

I am so disgusted with council and its total disregard and disdain for the rate payers that I intend on making a formal complaint to the Ombudsman in the hope that no-one else will ever be treated the same way council has treated me.

It is my hope that something can be done about the debt council has left that poor lady with. What a discusting way in which to treat one of our senior citizens.

Only a Council could pull a stunt like this and get away with it. If it were any body else that was responsible for this lady's injuries they would be coughing up big time, what really is disgusting is what I regard as a freudulent (and it is freud if this guy wasn't an assessor) approach to assessing this ladies claim. For him to decide what sort of pain this lady was in as well, who is he to judge, is he a doctor ? Then the rest of the swifty that this council has pulled, I am certainly sure that if the shoe was on the other foot and it was one of the councellors who suffered this injury they wouldn't have been put through the same garbage as this lady, and I'm sure they would have received a nice compensation payout for it, so should this lady pay her you bunch of good for nothings

There is nothing extrodinary or special about me. I am just the average ratepayer, certainy not a frail type of person who falls over. However, fall down is what I did thanks to council and its negligence. The Mayor claims the footpath was undamaged and that no other lady has fallen there. Why then would a gentleman who helped me up say there had been an elderly lady fall over and a worker at the medical centre tell me there had been "other accidents". These people were total strangers and have no reason whatsoever to lie, while council on the other hand has every reason to lie, and do so with gusto.

My situation could happen to anyone, even you. You could have an accident caused by council negligence and get treated just as I have been treated.

It is my hope that people reading my gripe are fellow ratepayers and that they remember my story the next time local elections roll around and make sure not one of the current councillors gets re-elected. They have no consideration for the ratepayers so have no right to represent us.

Keep writing love. Not only here but also directly to the Mayor and the General Manager. Don't give up.

Try phoning the NSW Ombudsman also.

Post the Councils details here (Postal, Email) of Council, Councillors, Mayor and GM. So that users here can support you.

Also, talk and spread the word about this site.

Blog it, twitter it, the more people now about this site the more Councils will have to respond.

Many thanks for your support Mallone. I have written to all of the councillors, the deputy Mayor said I should have taken the matter to court or gone to the media and the Mayor wrote to me telling me to write to him if I had a probelm. I heard nothing from any of the other councillors which indicated to me firstly that they DO NOT read letters from the ratepayers and secondly they don't give a damm which is charming as we pay them to represent us.

I have written more than 10 letters to council and each reply shows it is being run by reprehensible, immoral, overpaid robots.

I have no intention of letting council off the hook and will take my complaint to the Ombudsman. I have phoned his office but they require the compliant in writting. I will be making a formal comlaint becasue I believe council has acted dishonestly.

I have told many people my story but they seem to think I have simply been unlucky and if they were to have an accident council would treat them differently. Little do they know all councils and councillors are tared with the same brush and have nothing but comtempt for rate payers and residents. They feel they are all so much grander than the rest of us mere mortals.

My life long experience tells me their are 3 versions of the truth. Yours, Councils, and the truth. If you are so sure of what you reckon is the truth stop griping here and do something about it. Go see a legal person. If you have a case to stand on you will win out.

I have tried to do something about it. I have spoken to a solicitor but I am statute barred from making a claim through the courts as the 3 years are up. I am not able to make a claim through the small claims court as I did not pay for a service. The Insurnace Ombudsman can't investigate because Council did not use an Insurnace Company. My only hope now is the NSW Ombudsman.

As for telling the truth, have you ever know any Council to tell the truth? They know every trick and loop-hole in the book and they employ an army of legal eagles. Councils and Councillors are a different breed of people with little to no regard for anyone other than themselves.

Since my accident I have heard of 2 other people who have had falls in this Shire and when they notified Council they were told they would not receive any financial assistance for their injuries. I, on the other hand was made an offer which it seems Council never had any intention of honouring.

These reprehensable and abhorent people are the ones making decisions about our lives.

As for Councils side of the story. Have you seen anyone from this Council deign to make a comment on any matter pertaining to them. Not likely!!!!!

Why did you not see a solicitor inside the first three years?

Had council denied my claim I would have consulted a solicitor but I was advised I would be contacted by an Insurance Company, I found out later it was not an Insurance Company, this company said it would investigate my claim, this consisted of looking at my shoes and the hole I got caught in, then after some months I was advised council wanted to settle the matter in an amicable manner so I saw no reason to take legal action. If you have ever had to deal with these entities you would know they work in slow motion, so when I attempted to accept the offer made to me, once again the time was dragged out as council passed the matter on. When I did receive a reply it was from a third entity to tell me the 3 years were up.

On some ocassions the time can be extended but I have not been able to find a solicitor who is prepared to take the case as none think the extra time would be granted to me.

It is now up to "pester power" to pressure council to make good on it's offer and show the ratepayers it is prepared to treat them with honesty and dignity and that it isn't the pariah it so often seems to be.

So come on, put pressure on the council and show it this isn't the way to treat injured people.

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