FOR the deaths of 200 tropical orchids—lovingly nurtured over a lifetime—elderly widow Lesley Wall received a couple of panes of glass as compensation.
Subcontractors for the multi-million dollar Taskers redevelopment project caused the prize-winning flowers’ deaths when they damaged Ms Wall’s greenhouse: sensitive plants withered and died when power, thermostat and humidifiers were damaged and she couldn’t afford to replace them.
At the time Ms Wall had been caring for her dying husband. Taskers’ subcontractors—Brajkovich Demolition—never even bothered to install the panes, leaving the couple to do it themselves, just before the now-late Mr Wall became bedridden.
Brajkovich had been removing a back fence for Gary Dempsey Developments and AFG Property—the Taskers’ site head developers—when the fence fell onto Ms Wall’s greenhouse.
“After a while I got onto the sister of the joint owner and she must have had a word to him, because they put up a fibro fence 15cm inside my boundary,” Ms Wall told the Herald.
The temporary fence has now been replaced with a limestone wall, but no-one’s helping out with the greenhouse or orchids, and Ms Wall is left only with bitter memories.
“The noise, the dust, the swearing—the last few weeks of my husband’s life were absolute hell,” she says, tears welling in her eyes.
“When I went out the back one day they had just pulled down a building and 13 rats ran in front of him and some went past me, and he was just laughing—never mind about breaking down my fence.”
Ms Wall attempted to organise a meeting with Mr Dempsey, but he wouldn’t allow neighbours to accompany the widow for support, insisting she meet him alone: “Knowing I had not long ago lost my husband, I thought that was disgusting, so I said no.”
The Herald contacted Mr Dempsey, who dismissed the incident because it had occurred more than a year ago. He also blamed Ms Wall, saying she’d had the greenhouse built after the wall had come down, and that it was too close to the development. That argument was quickly undone by a simple check of Google maps, which shows Ms Wall’s greenhouse standing—and without any broken panes—while the old wall was still there. It’s also entirely within her property.
The Chook rang the developer back to query the discrepancy, but he didn’t take our calls.
by STEVE GRANT and CASPER JUST