Overhaul of shops still at a standstill
Community, businesses in limbo 12 months on
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.