While the media is full of truly uplifting stories about people helping others they don’t know I recall a story of a different kind told by my father in the wake of the 1974 Brisbane floods. He and some mates from his local service club delivered a new 12 cubic foot fridge to a flood victim who complained at the time of delivery that the one they had lost had a larger capacity of 14 cubic feet.
The ungratefulness of the victim tested my Dad’s community spirit but when his disappointment subsided he of course came to the view that the outpouring of goodwill made the odd instance of bad manners insignificant.
Just as the community at large tends to emerge from such disasters stronger for enduring the pain collectively, the challenge of repairing common property and planning for a better future provides the same opportunity for bodies corporate and owners corporations. Funding these repairs, often without the existence of flood insurance will be difficult for all, particularly those groups who have skimped on their past responsibilities for saving progressively for the repairs and maintenance. Special levies will need to be struck and perhaps loans taken out by bodies corporate to ease the cash flow crisis for members.
The financial management of bodies corporate in Queensland will be difficult for years ahead as a consequence of these events. Proper budgeting, thoughtful placement of insurance, timely collection of levies and the provision of discounts for early payers and interest for late payers will all require careful and considered attention to ensure bodies corporate emerge from this disaster paying proper regard to their ongoing responsibilities for maintaining property values, satisfying legislative expectations about health and safety and fostering a harmonious living environment.
On top of these obligations, those bodies corporate in Brisbane unable to obtain insurance protection against future floods will need to consider an annual contingency for future flood damage. In a town that is built on a river likely to flood like this every thirty or forty years, the risk is foreseeable and the duty to manage this risk is very real.