A derelict townhouse development is to be bought by Ipswich Council

There were emotional scenes in Ipswich City Council chambers after a unanimous vote to buy back a flood-hit Brassall townhouse development that has been abandoned since the 2022 deluge.

Residents of the Mihi Grove project were unable to return to their homes, which had become uninhabitable.

The 42 homes in the Haig St complex also suffered significant damage in 2011 and again in 2013.

Progress on the buyback process was delayed because the townhome complex was subject to the community ownership system.

Under current legislation, consent of all owners was required to dissolve community ownership, affecting eligibility for the voluntary home buyback program.

Resident owner Odette Summers said the complex looked beautiful and well-maintained when she lived there until the insurance company removed its security systems after the floods.

“There’s nothing in there. You can’t tell it from the outside, but when you go in, there are no walls,” Summers said.

“There are no kitchens, no toilets, no bathrooms, there is nothing there but tires.

“All that’s left there are the firewalls between each unit but they’ll have to get out before they can eliminate them.

“It’s a shame it was allowed to be built there in the first place.”

Ipswich Mayor Theresa Harding struggled to hold back tears as she asked councilors to support the takeover of the Mayhey Grove properties.

“We cannot begin to imagine the stress and suffering this process has brought to yourselves and your families,” Harding told landlords who witnessed the voting in the chambers.

“It has been a long, complex and resource-intensive journey.

“No one knows this better than the owners who ultimately worked tirelessly to help us resolve the many complexities at Mihi Grove.

“As we head into the Christmas season, I hope this decision gives you comfort, certainty and peace of mind, knowing that you and your family can soon leave Mihi Grove and the fear of the coming flood behind you.”

Ms. Summers, who led the committee fighting for voluntary buybacks of the homes, said the whole process was heart-wrenching.

“I bought a house in Mayhey Grove about four years ago, after my husband had just passed away from cancer,” she said.

“He was in such bad shape towards the end of his cancer journey that he was in denial mode and so he canceled his life insurance.

“I had to sell our house. That’s how I ended up in Mihi. Otherwise I would still be in Queensland on the hill.”

The voluntary home buyback access assistance and advocacy process through the Resilient Homes Fund first arrives at the Mayor’s Office in 2022.

A spokeswoman for the Ipswich Mayor’s Office said there were only two blocks of units or house blocks under community ownership schemes approved under the Resilient Homes Fund, which covered dozens of councils. Both were in Ipswich.

“I think what we did for Mihi has never been done anywhere in the state,” she said.

“We had no reference or guide on how to solve the problem and what we had to overcome.

“We’ve had a little help from other parts of state government.

“The state itself was working to reform community property legislation at the time we were trying to do this.

“The council also needs some assurances from the Queensland Government that if any further issues arise during the takeover process, they will still be willing to help with funding and support.

“We received a letter from the Deputy Premier (Steven Miles) on October 27, saying that the state government would approve $1.84 million, which is a very generous amount.

“Although the council does not run a voluntary home buyback programme, our role is to take ownership and demolish properties that are bought back.”

It was believed that the Mihi Grove complex would be demolished within three to six months of settlement payments to the owners.

(tags for translation) Community Address

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