Grandmother waits for water leak repairs

Anita KirkbrightGeraldton Guardian
Grandmother waits for water leak repairs
Camera IconGrandmother waits for water leak repairs Credit: Geraldton Guardian

A Geraldton grandmother has been left distressed and fearing her ceiling may collapse after water poured into her home almost two weeks ago.

Hazel Kelly, 63, who has several health issues including an ulcer on her foot, has slept on a couch in her lounge room since the evening of May 10, when she arrived home to find the floors of her Augustus Street unit waterlogged.

“I’m not healing well. It’s the stress that I’m going through. Water was coming in from the carport, seeping in after the rain,” she said.

The Geraldton-born woman said the Housing Authority, who owns the home, had taken too long to respond to her complaint.

Housing’s general manager for service delivery Greg Cash said the department had responded to Miss Kelly’s complaint.

He said an initial inspection conducted after hours found no leaks in the pipes at her home and another inspection two days later found blocked gutters were the source of the problem.

Mr Cash said communication had broken down later when Miss Kelly became aggressive with staff.

“Two Housing Authority officers visited Miss Kelly on May 10 to discuss in person her concerns and examine them first-hand,” he said.

“Unfortunately an aggressive tone Miss Kelly took with the officers made it impossible to resolve any issues at that time and the officers had to leave the property.”

Miss Kelly said she was upset the authority had not sent a more senior staff member and admitted she did raise her voice.

“I never said threatening words, I just said ‘you don’t stand and smile when I’m trying to speak to you’. I’ve had enough ... they are not coming to the party when you want things done,” she said.

The authority has since issued a work order and the gutters were cleaned on Wednesday.

Miss Kelly said she will not move back into her bedroom until additional maintenance is done to make the home watertight after a contractor told her there were gaps in sealant through which water could pass.

“If a big rain comes and the glue isn’t fixed, it might fill up again where the rain can go in between the carport and the roof. It will still come into the roof and the wall and the skirting boards,” she said.

Mr Cash said the correct form of action for Housing Authority tenants who required any kind of assistance was to contact its call centre, Housing Direct, on 1300 137 677.

“When tenants speak to Housing Direct in a courteous and calm manner, the operators will obtain all the relevant information to ensure the required work is allocated to the correct contractor,” he said.

“The majority of maintenance requests are completed on time. However, given the high number of requests, there are inevitably times when jobs are not completed as quickly as Housing, and the tenant, would like.”

Housing Authority maintenance priority categories

Emergency: 8 hours for no power, faulty smoke alarm or smell of gas.

Urgent: 24 hours for no hot water, blocked toilets or burst water pipes.

Priority: 48 hours for faulty stove, leaking taps or security lights not working.

Routine: 28 days for re-hanging internal doors, replacing washing line or rewiring flyscreen to window and/or door.

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