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The District

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Community is off the pier

27 Mar 2012

Docklands has missed the opportunity for a community space on Central Pier, with space previously reserved for community activities now being leased commercially.

Central Pier says it fully intended to support a community space in Shed 9 when it first opened for business in 2007.

Its original tender to VicUrban (now Places Victoria) included a “community hall” on the pier.

Central Pier subsequently entered into an agreement with Father James Grant to lease a tenancy of 210 sqm in Shed 9 for spiritual, community and religious use.

But after four years, the parties have gone their own ways – with each blaming the other for the failure to activate the community space.

Father Grant says Central Pier was disingenuous from the start and put a series of obstacles in his way which, effectively, prevented the so-called Spiritual Embassy from materialising.

Central Pier says it was Father Grant who failed to meet self-imposed deadlines.

“Given our repeated requests and no activation for over four years, we could not hold the space any longer and accepted Father James’ self-imposed deadline which was not met and triggered termination,” a Central Pier spokesperson said.

“As part of our original tender for Central Pier, we committed to support a community space in Shed 9. Since opening in 2007 until just recently this was our intention and pursued a range of organisations with those objectives.”

“Over some considerable time we have constantly pursued Father Grant in the hope he would activate the space and written to him to establish how he was going. It was vital to Central Pier that the space be activated because Central Pier itself has obligations to try and maintain full occupancy.”

“Father James unilaterally set time-lines for commencement of fit-out works. He unfortunately missed every time-line. We extended the commencement date by six months twice to allow the organisation more time.”

“After the last deadline passed without action to activate the space, Father James agreed that if he did not secure funding and commence fit-out he will walk away and treat the lease as being at end.”

“Central Pier is fully committed to support the community and the Docklands and does so through our philanthropic endeavours, support over 30 charities and causes each year in our event spaces.”

“Andrew Buxton was also supportive of the intended use and had even agreed to support a fit out for the organisation which Central Pier assisted with and supported.”

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Comments

  • Rose M at 9:53pm on 18/04/12

    Well darn it :( So instead we'll have a library with community space in an impossible inaccessible place (one tram! no parking) which few will use. Who's doing the thinking here?

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