Statement on Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre Building

Statement | 6 October 2020

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has acted to ensure the safety of tenants and visitors to the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre building at Eden, following the appointment of a Voluntary Administrator and the subsequent closure of the Centre last week.

The Centre appointed a Voluntary Administrator after a condition assessment of the building identified a number of safety issues.

The Voluntary Administrator has advised the Centre will not trade again from the Premises and will not make further rent payments.

The Voluntary Administrator further advised inquiries were underway to relocate the Centre’s belongings from the building into alternative storage. These actions by the Centre indicate their unwillingness to fulfil the obligations under the head lease between the Centre and Crown Lands.

Under the terms of the head lease, the Centre was responsible for the care and maintenance of all aspects of the building. The building assessment report identified that this obligation was not satisfactorily fulfilled.

The Voluntary Administrator’s intention not to exercise its rights in relation to the property, and the Centre’s unwillingness to perform the lease conditions, has required DPIE Crown Lands to forfeit the lease with the Centre in order to address immediate safety concerns.

The forfeiture of the head lease also terminates sub-leases that were held between the Centre and a number of hospitality, retail, commercial and residential tenants.

Termination notices have been provided to the sub-tenants and meetings will be sought with each of them to discuss next steps as a matter of priority.

The actions being taken are difficult, however the building assessment report identified that the Marine Discovery Centre building was potentially beyond serviceable repair and that a number of the issues identified pose an immediate and serious risk to the safety of tenants and the public.

Commercial tenants in the building have been issued a temporary licence that will require them to cease trading from the premises by 12 October.

Due to safety concerns for the residential tenants, we have asked them to vacate immediately and offered to pay for temporary accommodation while they secure alternative permanent accommodation.

The building has been secured by SNP Protective Services to ensure the safety of tenants and visitors. Access will be available, via pre-arrangement with SNP from 12 October until 25 October for tenants to remove their goods and belongings. SNP can be contacted on 1300 663365.

The Australian Border Force and NSW Water Police occupy a section of the Marine Discovery Centre building that was assessed to be in better condition than the rest of the building. These tenants will continue to operate from the site under a temporary licence until alternate accommodation can be found for them in the area.

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