Drain pain a cash splash: Council in high-stakes legal battle over 'dodgy' Longyard drainage

TAMWORTH Regional Council (TRC) could be forced to pay millions of dollars to fix alleged deficiencies in water drainage systems surrounding the city’s premier golf course.

The council and Dromahair Pty Ltd, which owns the Longyard Golf Course, are locked in a high-stakes legal stoush over long-running problems with stormwater drainage.

The parties have begun court-ordered mediation in a last-ditch attempt to strike a mutually satisfying deal and avoid being drawn into a potentially expensive court case.

Dromahair is alleging council is responsible for “inadequate” stormwater infrastructure that has resulted in ongoing damage to the course, including its greens and bunkers.

It claims the stormwater is not being properly contained in drainage easements, both on and off the Greg Norman Dr course, and the club has suffered financially as a result.

An expert report was commissioned last year by lawyers acting for council’s insurer, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, to examine the “extent and costs of works” to contain the water.

“A construction cost estimate for the works proposed to contain the stormwater flows within the easements on Longyard Golf Course is approximately $4.3 million,” the report concluded.

Last week, while considering a report during a closed council meeting, Tamworth’s councillors resolved to “continue to defend the matter”.

TRC’s general manager Paul Bennett said the stormwater problems had existed at the 18-hole course, designed by Greg Norman and Bob Harrison, since it was built.

“We’re committed to finding a solution that’s suitable to both parties, but one that’s reasonable with respect to council’s obligations,” he said.

“We’re trying to work with Dromahair and saying to them that we’re prepared to do what’s reasonable to rectify the issue that exists up there.”

Dromahair director John O’Rourke said the company was a reluctant litigant, however, it needed a resolution to a matter that had dragged on for nearly a decade.

“We would like a resolution that is satisfactory for both council and ourselves,” he said.

“We are not looking to continue a fight for the sake of continuing a fight.

“We would rather this not be an issue. We would just like council to fulfil its obligations in terms of stormwater drainage.”

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