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Avoiding the "sink" hole

Starting down under in Queensland Mediator Betty Taylor chief executive of the Red Rose Foundation has been asked to assist in the reconciliation process between those wrongfully placed in state asylum as children.

The asylum in question is the Wolston Park facility in Queensland and Betty’s first step will be to work with those affected and find out what redress they would like.

At Northwest Mediation we always start by getting the two opposing sides in any commercial or family disagreement to set out what they want to achieve. The government has already issued a formal apology to "those who as children in the care of the State of Queensland suffered in any way while resident in an adult mental health facility".

Cameron Dick, Health Minister has not shied away from suggesting that damages it he form of compensation may be an option using the same sort of calculations previous royal commissions adopted to institutional child abuse.

Meanwhile over in Michigan (Farmington Hills) Oakland County Chief Judge Nanci Grant has declared in a dispute between home owners and local government that “there is no innocent party on this one,". At Northwest Mediation we don’t make those kinds of judgments or comments but the issues we see are never black and white. From certain points of view on each side there are actions or decisions which the other finds difficult to understand.

In this dispute Amarpreet Dhillon and her husband Suhkpal Dhillon bought a house which was later discovered to have been placed over a key access point to the drainage system. The government wants the house pulled down.

Mediation seems a good way to save money when you consider that no less than six lawyers turn up to represent the interested parties.

When told that the preventing access to the drain could cause a massive sink hole the judge asked "Has anyone actually taken up the basement floor to see exactly what is going on underneath that house?...Wouldn't that be the easiest way to take care of it?" and went on to suggest mediation. Both parties are understood to welcome mediation, and who wouldn’t when your house is at risk of falling down a….hole.

If you’ve a problem with a contract gone wrong, an employee or employer dispute, a problem with an ex-partner or perhaps a planning issue (whether or not it involves the danger of falling into the sewer) contact Ed Johnson on 07931318347 or via email at

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