Litigation looms over Railway Hotel site

THE redevelopment of the old Railway Hotel site at 138 Barrack Street to create the 15-storey Barrack Plaza could be stalled because of a dispute over a right of way that is the subject of a Supreme Court of Western Australia action.

Barrack Plaza developer Central City Limited is yet to gain a building licence from the Perth City Council for the bulk of its construction work.

The matter is still to go before the courts, although the parties have had a court-sponsored mediation meeting.

Central City is also being sued by Compile Australia, the company that put in the piles to underpin the Barrack Plaza development, for non-payment.

The right of way at the heart of the problem runs behind the old Railway Hotel site from Wellington Street and is owned by Central City Limited.

Grand Central Backpackers, at 379 Wellington Street, has access to that right of way on its title and is using it as a rear fire escape.

However, Central City has blocked the right of way with a gate.

Central City filed a writ on August 16 2002 seeking that Grand Central Backpackers owner Nioka Corporation surrender its right of way access and the easements it holds on its title.

It says Central City has “suffered loss and damage by reason of the defendant’s use of the easement”.

The statement of claim before the court has since been amended but the main claim that Nioka should give up its access to the right of way and the easements on its title remains.

Nioka Corporation director Barry Angove said he wanted to keep the right of way access because of its use as a fire escape and also because it was valuable to the business.

His co-director, Noel Williams, said Grand Central Backpackers had been given City of Perth permission to put in a larger gate where its fire escape joined the right of way and fully intended to defend its access to the right of way.

He said anything to do with fire safety had become a hot topic in the backpacker accommodation industry after the Childers backpackers’ fire in Queensland.

Central City director Joe Scaffidi declined to comment on the right-of-way litigation, saying only that it was a matter for the lawyers.

Compile Australia managing director Graham Mends confirmed the company was suing Central City for non-payment of its invoice for the piling work done on the old Railway Hotel site.

Mr Scaffidi said he had not paid the invoice because Compile had not “finished their job”.

Prior to these actions, he had previously faced legal actions over the old Railway Hotel site.

In 1992 Mr Scaffidi demolished the hotel and was fined for that demolition.


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