Thursday, 10 November 2011

Allegations aired must be fully investigated by the CMC in an open inquiry.

Theatre legal action on cards

Daniel Strudwick
Thursday, November 10, 2011
© The Cairns Post

Hertiage lost: The Cairns Regional Council may sue the Sydney-based owner of the Rex Theatre on Sheridan St for ignoring demolition orders.

The Sydney-based owner of the Rex Theatre is likely to face the full force of the law from Cairns  Regional Council after ignoring warnings to stop demolition.
Councillors voted yesterday to allow partial demolition of the heritage-listed building, conceding that most of the theatre was unsalvageable now that extensive sections have been torn down. All that will remain of the 72-year-old building is the concrete facade, which will have to be incorporated into any future development on the site.

The council has also voted to seek legal advice about prosecuting the building’s owner, Eldav Properties Pty Ltd, with Mayor Val Schier saying a hefty fine should apply. An Eldav director filed a statutory declaration in June, saying a council officer gave him permission for the demolition over the phone.  He says the demolition was given the green light because of concerns over the building’s structural integrity and squatters at the site. But the council disputes the director’s claims and says demolition works were under way at the Sheridan St site before the proper approvals had been granted.

Two stop-work notices, a show-cause notice and a compliance notice were issued to the owner in recent months but not complied with. Cr Schier compared Eldav with Brisbane’s Deen brothers, who tore down the Cloudland Ballroom at Bowen Hills under the cover of darkness in 1982. "I’d be pushing for, and supporting, a very hefty fine," she said.  "I think the owner has deliberately gone ahead with the demolition of this building knowing that they didn’t have approval.  ‘‘And we can’t allow that to happen – we need to take a very, very clear stance." The director of Eldav declined to comment on the decision.

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My Comment

Allegations made by developer Eldav Properties Pty Ltd, via a statutory declaration, that purportedly gave him permission over the phone must be fully investigated by the Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ). This allegation goes to the integrity of the Cairns Regional Council and may involve Councillors including prospective Mayoral candidates. 

Developers are not immune from irregular conduct, (general they are law abiding corporate citizens) and for a developer to go ahead against due process may indicate collusion or irregular conduct. This aspect needs to be fully investigated and the air cleared by the CMC before the local government election in 2012.

Ross Parisi
10th November 2011

1 comment:

  1. developer has still not paid local contractors as of 10-95-2912 for work done under his instructions


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