Over­haul of shops still at a stand­still

Com­mu­nity, busi­nesses in limbo 12 months on

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Marissa Ge­or­gopou­los

THERE is no in­di­ca­tion Bid­will shops will re­open any time soon, de­spite the cen­tre hav­ing been shut for al­most 12 months.

The shop­ping cen­tre opened in late 2009 but in re­cent times has been be­set with fi­nan­cial and le­gal is­sues.

Chi­fley fed­eral La­bor MP Ed Hu­sic raised his frus­tra­tions in Par­lia­ment last week and told The Stan­dard ac­tion needed to be taken.

“I speak on be­half of a lot of Bid­will res­i­dents when I say ‘just get the cen­tre open’; they’ve waited long enough,” Mr Hu­sic said.

“The de­vel­oper has asked pre­vi­ously to give him time, and records show that has hap­pened, and the cen­tre isn’t opened.

“The gov­ern­ment owns the site so the Baird Gov­ern­ment should fix this.”

The Bid­will Square com­plex has been closed since De­cem­ber 23 and one food store has op­er­ated rent-free since then, owner Ralph Tonkin said.

Res­i­dents pre­vi­ously de­pen­dent on the com­plex have been forced to shop out­side of the area.

Mr Tonkin claimed he had turned to lo­cal gov­ern­ment and Mr Hu­sic for as­sis­tance in the past week as he wanted to open the cen­tre’s doors once again.

“Yes, (I am) des­per­ate to re­open as this has al­most sent my small fam­ily-run com­pany broke,” Mr Tonkin said.

He said he was in talks with var­i­ous busi­nesses in the hope a few would be in­ter­ested in op­er­at­ing out of the com­plex should he get it up and run­ning.

The land on which the cen­tre stands is owned by Fam­ily and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices (FACS) and is leased to a “pri­vate com­pany,” a FACS spokesman con­firmed.

“FACS con­tin­ues to work with the Bid­will Shop­ping Cen­tre op­er­a­tor to sup­port the re­open­ing of the com­plex,” the spokesman said. “FACS is not re­spon­si­ble for the op­er­a­tion of the shop­ping cen­tre com­plex.”

Mr Hu­sic said he had dis­cussed the mat­ter with Mt Druitt state La­bor MP Ed­mond Atalla and the pair was not in­ter­ested in “fin­ger point­ing” – they just wanted re­sults.

“We are keen to ex­tend what­ever as­sis­tance we can to the Baird Gov­ern­ment and to the de­vel­oper to make sure this cen­tre re­opens,” Mr Hu­sic said.

“There will be a lot of good­will to see the site suc­ceed but we need to make that hap­pen.”

Bid­will shop­ping com­plex opened in late 2009.

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