#Local Government
Blue Mountains City Council

The Wayzgoose Cafe occupies the oldest building in Leura Mall, and the property is owned by Blue Mountains City Council. The current Cafe proprietors have been in occupation for 13 years, and for much of that time have been asking Council to attend to urgent building repairs. Some repairs have been done, but major remedial work has NOT been done, even though Council was provided with a report some seven years ago. Council has agreed to do this work, and has even nominated a time when the work would be done, but has not acted on this undertaking.

In July this year Council eventually investigated the complaints, and were advised by their experts that the building was in very poor condition. They responded by issuing the cafe owners with a Notice to Quit, with no preliminary discussions. This eviction notice has since been withdrawn, but it remains one of Council's main options, and the Notice to Quit may well be issued again once Council has assessed all options.

The owners have invested some $250,000 into the business, but Council says that they do not propose to offer compensation, as under the Retail Leases Act they are entitled to issue such a notice - WITHOUT COMPENSATION - if the property is so badly "damaged" that it is not safe for the tenants to remain in the building. They maintain this position, even though the cafe proprietors assert that the damage is a direct consequence of Council's failure to maintain and repair the property over many years.

We believe that Council's stance is unconscionable, and we ask that council be urged to explore all options, in consultation with the cafe owners, and to finally adopt a remedy that allows the business to continue to operate.

We, the undersigned, deplore the actions of Blue Mountains in regard to its neglect of the historic building at 174 The Mall, Leura, and the subsequent treatment of the cafe owners.

Further, we request that Blue Mountains City Council:

1. takes all necessary steps to ensure that the Wayzgoose Cafe can continue to operate in its current premises;

2. rectifies the damage to the building in a comprehensive but efficient manner to ensure that there is minimum interruption to the trade of the Wayzgoose Cafe;

3. Consults with the Cafe Owners at all stages of the process, and provides access to the premises to allow the owners to arrange their own inspections and reports.

4. Provides its own reports to the Proprietors of the Wayzgoose Cafe;

5. In the event that the building must be vacated, and cannot be occupied by the current business, that the owners are appropriately compensated, given that their investment will be lost, and because that loss can be attributed to the neglect of the building;

6. delay any final decision by the elected Councillors until such time as the proprietors have had ample opportunity to consider, and respond to, the final recommendations Council's permanent staff.

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The Save Leura's Wayzgoose Cafe petition to Blue Mountains City Council was written by Mark Alchin and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.