Reservations over hotel

Ms Quirk tackled Heritage Minister Albert Jacob about the eyesore in State Parliament last week.

She said the Barnett government had refused to explain how the owners of the hotel managed to negotiate an extension to their development approval in secret.

In a grievance motion put before Parliament, Ms Quirk asked why the State Government had failed to act decisively on the Guildford Hotel, which was damaged by fire more than five years ago.

Ms Quirk said the Government’s inaction and lack of transparency regarding the future of the hotel had triggered community concern.

Mr Jacobs said Ms Quirk’s claim that the hotel would undergo demolition by neglect was not right.

He said the owners had taken steps to stabilise the building and ensure public safety to the City of Swan’s satisfaction.

‘The government and I absolutely share the concerns of the local community and we want to see this landmark site restored and repaired without undue delay,’ he said.

Ms Quirk said she gave the Minister an opportunity to explain how the owners of the hotel were able to negotiate the extension, which was due to expire at the end of November.

‘Mr Jacob failed to provide any explanation and he was unable to tell Parliament what the new expiration date of the development approval is,’ she said.

‘Nor was he able to explain whether the owners have secured tenants for the premises, claiming it was ‘commercial in confidence’.

‘The Minister made it very clear that he intends to sit on the sidelines and not act under the existing Heritage Act to compulsorily acquire the premises, even in the face of growing concerns about the deteriorating condition of the building.

‘The Guildford Hotel has just withstood a fifth winter without a roof.

‘The committed and passionate local community have been extremely patient.

‘The goodwill extended to the owners is wearing thin and some are now questioning their sincerity in moving ahead with the hotel restoration.’

Ms Quirk said the Minister has not indicated when the new heritage laws, promised at the state election eight months ago by the Liberal Party, would be introduced in the Parliament.

Mr Jacobs reiterated his intention to introduce new heritage legislation but could not give a time frame for that to happen.

‘The State government will deliver on its election promise of introducing to Parliament a new modernised heritage bill for WA that will deliver open, transparent and simple to operate and understand legislation that reflects best practices in the recognition and protection of heritage places,’ Mr Jacobs said.