by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
SSC Newspaper : August 2013
By Peter Lynch Heritage-listed Camden Lodge has apparently been saved from the bulldozers – but its future remains under a cloud. Land and Environment Court Commissioner Linda Pearson last month dismissed an appeal by the building’s owner for permission to pull it down and refused a redevelopment application. But owner Ronney Ouiek has told the Scene he plans an appeal to try and get the ruling overturned. If that didn’t work, he maintained he would have no choice but to subdivide the plot and build a duplex to try and raise funds to restore the building. “ What choice do I have?,” he asked. “I don’t want to do it but I may have to.” Camden Lodge, once the home of the Bush family with lead light windows and beautiful gardens, has for the past 18 months been an empty shell. It is open to the elements after an electrical fire destroyed much of the roof. Residents fighting demolition plans welcomed the ruling. Mrs Marlene Doran was delighted and said it was a victory for people power. “Strathfield municipality has people who care about our heritage and will fight to save it. I would also like to thank the council for its support,” she said. But Mr Ouiek said he remains determined, and the ruling left no winners. He insisted he could leave the house in its present condition, its roof open to the skies, for 30 years, and there was nothing anyone could do. And he claimed the court’s judgment suggested he could subdivide the plot to pay the $1.7 million estimated repair bill on the house. “Nothing can stop me building next door on the land. No law can stop me. Not even council can stop me. But if that was my intention I would have done it three years ago.” He asked: “Have the neighbours won? Have the objectors won? Has the council won?” “The house will stay there for another 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, the way it is. Not even the richest man in the countr y would spend $1.7 million, and that money won’t restore it to its original state. It is just the basics, everything cheap, cheap, cheap.” “ When I first bought the house I was in love with it. I had a mansion in Auburn, but I sold it,” he said. “ We picked Strathfield because it is half way between my business in Auburn and my daughter’s school in Croydon. I paid $2.5 million plus $26,000 stamp duty. Now it will have cost $90,000 in land tax because I am not living in it. “Between applications and going backwards and forwards, it has cost $300,000 in application and legals. In plain English it is costing more than $1 million in holding costs. I feel sorry for the people across the road and on my two sides. Their house is their castle and for them to get up every single morning to see what they see is unfair. I’m fine – I have a beautiful apartment where I live in Auburn, but I feel sorry for them.” In a judgment posted on the court’s website, the commissioner turned down a request by Mr Oueik to pull the building down. She said she accepted it was still possible to retain the building’s heritage value with repairs, adding in her judgment: “I am not persuaded that that is an unreasonable burden or impost on the owner.” Ian Hemmings, Mr Oueik’s barrister, told the court during the three-day hearing that the cost to restore the fire- stricken home may be up to $1.7 million – a figure he believes is an unreasonable amount for his client to pay. But council’s barrister, Philip Clay, said he believed the heritage value of Camden Lodge to the community outweighed the financial implications. He also told the court that if Mr Oueik had taken the proper measures to insure the property before the fire, the cost of repairing the house would have been covered. Commissioner Pearson presided over an on-site meeting on the first day of hearings to listen to residents’ evidence. Around her, angry locals called for the building to be restored. As the Scene went to press, council was ser ved with an appeal application from Mr Oueik based on points of law. It will be heard later this month. AUGUST 2013 NEWS 4 Strathfield Scene “Strathfield municipality has people who care about our heritage and will fight to save it. I would also like to thank the council for its support.” — Resident activist Marlene Doran Business and Professional Women - BPW Are you a woman who means business? BPW Australia is a network of women focused on the issues affecting women and work in Australia. BPW Strathfield meet monthly, enjoy dinner, network and listen to a guest speaker. You can participate in projects such as “Equal Pay Day” or “Mentoring” or simply enjoy the meetings. COME ALONG TO OUR AUGUST MEETING! TOPIC: From start up to a substantial business GUEST SPEAKER: Karen Lebsanft – owner of Kurrajong Kitchen Wednesday 21 August, 2013 BPW STRATHFIELD Dinner meeting 6:30-8:30pm $50 per head - includes drink and two-course meal Club Burwood - 97 Burwood Road, Burwood Find us at: www.bpw.com.au LinkedIn: BPW Australia BPW Strathfield and follow us on @BPWAustralia Book by 18 August @ http://bpwstrathaug21.eventrbrite.com.au or contact 0433 819 737 BPW Strathfield www.bpw.com.au Make a difference Volunteer Today! For more information Call Volunteer Network on 9911 9855 or reach us by www.volunteernetwork.org.au ICAC CLEARS AGENT OVER OBEID LINK Strathfield real estate agent Joseph Georges will not be reported to the Director of Public Prosecu- tions after his appearance before the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Mr Georges gave evidence during an inquiry into the business deal- ings of former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid and former Resources Minister Ian McDonald involving coal mining leases. ICAC found Mr Obeid and Mr McDonald were corrupt. ICAC Commissioner David Ipp, QC, said: “The commission is not of the opinion that consideration should be given to ... the prosecution of Mr Georges for any criminal offence.” According to the ICAC report, Mr Georges’ com- pany, Redmyre Holdings, had a 4 per cent stake in a company called Voope, which was associated with a company called Loyal Coal. In 2010 Loyal Coal asked shareholders for a contribution to fund exploration. Mr Georges used Voope to fund this. In 2012, Voope became Mincorp Investments and was offered six million share options in a company called Coalworks Ltd. Mincorp Investments exer- cised four million of these options for a net profit of $1,358,110. These funds were deposited to the shareholders in Mincorp, including Obeid Family Trust No 2. (Full report at www.icac.nsw.gov.au) Strathfield residents fighting demolition plans didn’t let the weather dampen their demonstration. LODGE’S FUTURE STILL IN THE AIR
SS July 2013