Lease leaves centre in lurch

The Spiers Centre. d423673
The Spiers Centre. d423673

She said the centre was built (in 1986) on land in Heathridge provided by the then Shire of Wanneroo using $60,000 of funding from the Lotteries Commission and since then, the not-for-profit charity had spent another $140,000 to $150,000 on extensions and improvements.

‘In all of the leasing arrangements that we’ve had, we have been responsible for all of the insurances,’ she said.

‘When we were told in 2013 that we no longer needed to cover the building insurance, initially we thought ‘that’s great, we’re saving money from that’.

‘As we started to look at the new lease that was being offered, we realised that not only have we lost the ability to get those insurance funds to rebuild should anything happen, there’s also no guarantee in the arrangement that we will be able to have our building rebuilt by the City of Joondalup.’

She said under the proposed lease, the City would have access to any insurance funds that might become available.

‘In terms of good faith, we realise you probably would turn around and say ‘yes we’ll build’ but in terms of a legal document such as the lease, we really feel that we would like to have some guarantee so that we could have a greater feeling of security as we go forward in our planning,’ she said.

‘If we can’t have the insurance reinstated for us to do the insurances, we’d look at an alternative as possibly providing that guarantee into the lease.’

The centre’s lease expired on June 30, 2012. As part of the City’s new property management framework, it stated the City was responsible for arranging and paying for building insurance and would receive any settlement should the building be destroyed.

At the meeting, City officers recommended the centre not be allowed to insure the building and a guarantee the centre would be re-housed or rebuilt not be included in the lease.

Crs Philippa Taylor and Teresa Ritchie requested a guarantee be provided but Mayor Troy Pickard said providing one would be committing a future council to the decision, which was outside of the Local Government Act.

Chief executive Garry Hunt said the centre was required to insure the internal fittings and have public liability insurance and the City, as the property owner, was required to insure the building as it had been doing.

‘We haven’t changed anything that hasn’t been in play for some time. These are not new issues we are proposing,’ he said.

Mr Pickard said it was unfortunate the centre had also been paying the building insurance at the same time as the City.

Cr Russ Fishwick suggested the City include a recommendation to ‘use its best endeavours’ to relocate the centre if the building was destroyed until a permanent location could be secured.

Mr Pickard said this did not commit a future council to a decision and would give some comfort to the centre’s management.

‘The reality is with all community groups and all sporting clubs, if they are impacted by fire the City would use its best endeavours to relocate,’ he said.

‘That’s the reason for our existence. We’re here to provide them with homes and facilitate their role in the community. I’m gobsmacked these questions are being raised.’

Cr Fishwick’s recommendation was passed.

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