FORMER City of Greater Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman is suing the city’s current elected representatives and three council executives for $750,000, alleging they deliberately refused to make a decision about acquiring her property for six years.
Ex-councillor Chapman served the Supreme Court of Victoria writ for nonfeasance on all 12 individuals, including nine councillors, at a council meeting on Wednesday evening.
The civil dispute relates to the draft Marong town plan 2010, which Ms Chapman’s writ claims included her property within voluntary acquisition boundaries for use as proposed open space.
The writ, seen by the Bendigo Advertiser, alleged Ms Chapman’s request for a decision regarding the acquisition of her property had been ignored for six years.
It also alleges information regarding Ms Chapman’s property was withheld, and subsequently released through a freedom of information request.
The document goes on to allege all nine councillors were directed not to respond to Ms Chapman’s requests.
Ms Chapman declared her property as a conflict of interest while serving on council.
The writ alleges Ms Chapman has incurred a number of planning costs relating to her property, and has been living in a tiny three-bedroom relocatable waiting for a decision to either build or sell her property to council.
A new draft Marong town plan was approved by councillors on Wednesday evening, which does not include Ms Chapman’s property within rezoned land acquisition boundaries, according to the writ.
The writ alleges “the six years of lies, denial of information, and personal hostility” has “emotionally damaged” Ms Chapman.
In the document Ms Chapman claims a decision from the City of Greater Bendigo regarding her property and damages, including; $400,000 for lost quality of life through stress, physical and mental suffering and hardship, $250,000 for loss of opportunity, $20,000 for unnecessary rental costs, $80,000 for cost of a temporary relocatable home.
In a statement given to the Bendigo Advertiser Ms Chapman said: “I have asked repeatedly over the last six years for clarification about whether council plans to publicly acquire my property or not, however council has refused to give me any final decision,” she said.
“With such an encumbrance over the property, I cannot build a house or develop the land.
“This has had a detrimental effect on my family and my life.”
City of Greater Bendigo Corporate Performance Director, Kerryn Ellis, said the writ contained a number of unfounded allegations.
“The City strongly denies the allegations and will make an application in court to have the writ struck out,” Ms Ellis said.