Opal chair reveals his year of dealing with disaster


It’s the kind of bad dream that has strata chairs waking up in a cold sweat; being thrust into the heart of a very public building disaster, with residents thrown out into the street, while the world looks on.

It’s been almost a year since Opal Towers Chairman Shady Eskander and his neighbours heard the first cracks ring out as a section of the huge tower in Sydney’s Olympic Park started to crumble.

Shortly after, on Christmas Eve, our TV screens were filled with images of families being hastily evacuated from the apparently failing tower block.

Being chair of an owners corporation is, as we know, an unpaid and often thankless role.  So how does a young businessman balance work and family commitments with the competing, often conflicting demands of hundreds of residents, and all in the glare of public scrutiny?

There are media commitments, political issues, legal considerations, negotiations with developers and the pressure to get families back in the block as soon as possible, if only to curb the flood of negative headlines.

Opal Tower is still standing and most of the families have been allowed back  – the last of them due to return by Christmas  – but property values have sunk along with consumers confidence in the apartment sector, further weighed down by the sinking Mascot Tower and other examples of the worst-case scenarios of high rise living.

Anyone who has ever tried to steer their committee and owners corporation through something relatively minor as a standard defects claim, or a push to upgrade common property, will be able to relate in a small way to the pressures Mr Eskander faced.

Now you have the chance to hear from Mr Eskander how he went from being an elected volunteer, nominally in charge of an owners corporation in a new building, to the public face of a strata nightmare.

Shady will be the guest speaker at the Owners Corporation Network’s final meeting of the year on November 30th Alexandria Town Hall, 73 Garden Street, Alexandria, Sydney.

The event which is free to members (and your $55 ticket will get you a membership anyway) also includes panel discussions and a session where owners can tell the OCN executive what they want to see from the organisation for the next year.

OCN is going from strength to strength, according to its chair Phil Gall, having successfully campaigned to get NSW the best (or least worst) Airbnb laws in Australia and having been hugely influential in the current review of NSW building regulations.

The AGM, sponsored by unit block remediators, renovators and rescuers MaxBuild,  starts at 10 am on Saturday 30th, runs till 1pm and the fee includes a light lunch. Even if you can’t make it on the day, you can take advantage of a special offer of six months free membership when you sign up for the next year.

Do you need to be involved?  As Shady Eskander will surely testify, when things start to go off-kilter in your strata block, you’ll want all the help you can muster.

Find out more about the OCN meeting and the special membership offer HERE.



One Reply to “Opal chair reveals his year of dealing with disaster”

  1. Jimmy-T says:

    This is now being discussed in the Flat Chat Forum

Leave a Reply

scroll to top