Minister calls for action on hotel

Midland MLA Michelle Roberts and Opposition leader Mark McGowan with concerned local David With, from Guildford, outside the Guildford Hotel, which burned down in 2008. Right: The Guildford Hotel site. Pictures: Bruce Hunt d416452
Midland MLA Michelle Roberts and Opposition leader Mark McGowan with concerned local David With, from Guildford, outside the Guildford Hotel, which burned down in 2008. Right: The Guildford Hotel site. Pictures: Bruce Hunt d416452

‘Since the unfortunate fire at the hotel more than five years ago there have been promises of some development by the owners and unfortunately that has not happened,’ Mr Day said last week.

‘It has very much got to the point, in my view, that some harder action needs to be taken.’

Mr Day said the Government had not made any decisions at this stage, but he had asked the Department of Planning and the Midland Redevelopment Authority to provide more detailed information about what options were available.

Last Wednesday, Midland MLA Michelle Roberts and State Opposition leader Mark McGowan met at the hotel site to reinforce the message to the owners.

‘We are in opposition, but this has gone on too long and we will do what we can to shame the parliament into acting on this site,’ Mr McGowan said in Guildford.

Ms Roberts said the hotel had been a case study on the ineffectiveness of the State’s Heritage Act. ‘The City of Swan has been weak on the issue, too,’ she said.

Mr Day said there was a view within the Government that it needed to step in and take effective action.

‘Not to benefit the owners of the hotel, but to ensure that the important heritage building is actually protected and restored, bearing in mind that Guildford is one of the first settlements in the metropolitan area with Perth and Fremantle,’ Mr Day said.

Saturday, February 22, marked 2000 days since the historic hotel was damaged by fire.

Peter Langlands, a spokesman for the Save the Guildford Hotel community group said no-one dreamt that 2000 days later, locals would still be fighting to have the significant WA heritage asset saved and restored.

Three rallies have called on successive governments to step in and protect the hotel, including by obtaining an independent engineer’s report on the structural integrity of the building.

This has not occurred since 2009. ‘Despite the owners and the Government saying they are doing all they can, there is not a lot to show for this,’ Dr Langlands said.

‘It is now time for the State Government to act decisively to save the Guildford Hotel by compulsory acquisition, as it is doing in Albany at the old Esplanade Hotel site.

‘We are calling on the Minister for Heritage, Albert Jacobs, to initiate quickly the powers vested in him to prevent the loss of this much-loved and iconic building.’

Mr Day said he would hope to use the powers under the Heritage Act or, failing that, compulsory acquisition powers under the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority Act, if necessary, if a resolution was not quickly undertaken.