Shared from the 12/4/2018 Inner West Courier - West eEdition

Bower not out of the woods yet

Breaches remain unresolved despite reopening

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The Bower general manager Guido Verbist at Sunday’s reopening party. Picture: Monique Harmer

THE Bower held a reopening party on the weekend but there is still a long road ahead if it wants to keep its doors open permanently.

The reuse centre enjoyed one of its best trading days on Sunday when it regained access to its home of 20 years following its controversial eviction by the Addison Road Community Centre Organisation (ARCCO) on November 19.

But it’s not time to pop the champagne yet after ARCCO said it “was informed by the NSW Government that ARCCO is in breach of its head lease” due to illegal structures at The Bower.

The NSW Department of Industry, which manages the Crown Land site, requested ARCCO address non-compliances outlined in an order from Inner West Council.

An ARCCO spokeswoman said the head lease “spells out what would constitute a breach” after the Courier confirmed the department had not issued a breach of lease.

“The recent communication highlighted development without consent and premises to be kept clean and tidy in relation to The Bower — the same issues we have been asking The Bower to address for 2½ years,” she said.

ARCCO’s CEO Rosanna Barbero said The Bower’s repeated alleged breaches was putting the entire centre at risk.

“ARCCO remains committed to ensuring the centre remains in public hands and that the essential services provided by the many vital organisations on site, are supported going into the future,” Ms Barbero said.

The matter is listed for a hearing in the NSW Supreme Court on December 14 but Bower general manager Guido Verbist hopes an outof-court agreement can be reached before then.

Mr Verbist dismissed Ms Barbero’s claims the whole centre is in jeopardy as “scaremongering” and said the department was hopeful an “amicable” resolution could be reached.

Mr Verbist was hopeful “common sense will prevail” in relation to the illegal structures, which he believed could be retrospectively approved and rectified through remedial works approved by a structural engineer.

He thanked the community for all the support and encouraged shoppers to support them over Christmas.

“The most important thing is we can operate again and save the organisation from bankruptcy, but we aren’t out of the woods yet,” he said.

The Department of Industry has scheduled a meeting with ARCCO and The Bower.

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