5 May 2022

Eden work halted as developer takes legal action against Bega council

| Kim Treasure
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Hotel Australasia

Hotel Australasia’s façade is revealed in June 2021. Photo: Angela George.

The developer behind the $100 million “Sapphire of Eden” and the refurbishment of the Australasia Hotel has now stopped work on both projects, claiming Bega Valley Shire Council has “bungled” various consents to allow the works to continue.

Instead Core Assets Development Pty Ltd (CAD) has begun legal proceedings against the Far South Coast council in the Land and Environment Court.

Bega Valley Shire Council acting director community environment and planning Emily Harrison confirmed legal action had been taken “pertaining to two modification applications”.

“As this matter is before the court, council is unable to comment further at this time,” she said.

The developers claim the stopwork threatens more than 1000 local jobs “and a major economic stimulus to the Sapphire Coast through the construction of two new major tourism hospitality locations”.

READ MORE Original facade of Hotel Australasia revealed as restoration of Eden landmark continues

CAD has launched two separate actions in the NSW Land and Environmental Court in regard to a proposed roundabout, which it says is already funded to the tune of $3.3 million by both State and Federal Government authorities. Bega Valley Shire Council denies it has received State or Federal Government funding to construct the roundabout at the intersection of Imlay and Chandos Streets.

CAD claims council’s former director of planning had previously written to the company stating it would not need to contribute funds at any stage.

CAD says it is now seeking compensation from council “as a result of the continued delays in approvals as a result of its deceptive and misleading conduct”.

“We and others in the area are being continually blocked from progressing our developments through council’s misleading directions and bias, threatening the recovery in an area that needs tourism to recover from the bushfires and the pandemic,” CAD managing director Mark Toma said.

“We will shortly stop all works in Eden and lay off some 120 contractors, consultants, construction workers and staff if urgent action is not forthcoming. Bega Mayor Councillor Russel Fitzpatrick, general manager Anthony McMahon and the acting director of planning have all been approached regarding CAD’s complaints but to date they have taken no action to resolve the problems.

READ ALSO $30 million Sapphire eco-resort to put Batemans Bay ‘on the five-star map’

“We are extremely disappointed that the local politicians are claiming they want to create jobs, yet they are missing in action when obstacles have been put in place to halt the progress of what is the area’s largest project.

“The NSW Planning Minister should investigate the obstacles thrown up by the council in our project and others in Eden, Pambula and Merimbula, totaling $180 million.”

Demolition work on the former Eden Fishermen’s Recreation Club began last month and will continue, with any further works to be halted until the legal situation is resolved.

The Australasia Hotel was expected to be re-opened in mid-2022 with restaurants, two vodka and gin distilleries, an outdoor theatre, outdoor eateries and a heritage bar called the John Hines Bar after the original builder in 1904.

The Sapphire of Eden is a $100 million four-building project that comprises a collection of luxury apartments along with the region’s first and only five-star hotel.

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Council should be making this development seamless otherwise projects will go to the areas that encourage this kind of development. And there’s councils begging for this type of stuff.

Whalley Robin3:46 pm 05 May 22

typical council, who refused to contribute to a request by the Tura Beach owners corporation for a contribution to reseal road nd parking areas used not only by shopowners & customers but by patrons of the Tura Beach Library.
Whether it is true or not, i am led to believe that the Council refused to contribute to Tura Beach Country Club for funds to assist in replacing underground watering system, notwithstanding they had previously contributed to the Pambula/ Merimbula and Tathra golf clubs for their underground watering system.

David Thomson4:20 pm 07 May 22

Well cry me a river, Tathra was a totally different set up, dumping effluent into the wetlands. All areas should be reducing ocean outfall. Bermagui country club doesn’t even have a fully automated irrigation system. But once again being the southern most town, we are forgotten about, as per usual. These are all our oceans, and should be taken seriously.

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