13 SEPTEMBER 2020
It’s the dog fight that has captivated Sydney – or at least a small part of it – and this month it will command the attention of the state’s peak lawmaking bodies: the Parliament and the Supreme Court.
For five years, musician Jo Cooper has battled the strata committee of her apartment block, the Horizon, which stands tall among the terraces of inner-city Darlinghurst. Her quest: to keep her beloved 14-year-old schnauzer Angus, despite the building’s bylaws banning pets. With its cast of colourful characters and long-running neighbourhood grudges, Cooper’s story has been great fodder for gossip columns.
But for apartment owners it is also a landmark case that may yet yield permanent legislative change to the way strata operates in NSW. The threat of its passage has alarmed the Owners Corporation Network, which represents strata owners and residents. For OCN spokesman Stephen Goddard, democracy itself is at stake. “It’s the first nail in the coffin of democracy,” he says. “To suddenly change the democratic process by which people choose to live undermines confidence in the whole strata living paradigm.”
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