TAJ DE­MO­LI­TION $120,000

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

PEP­PER­MINT Grove Coun­cil has an es­ti­mate to de­mol­ish the un­fin­ished Taj Ma­hal on the Swan man­sion but owner Rad­hika Oswal says it would cost more to bring it down and she wants to spend $30 mil­lion to fin­ish the prop­erty.

“We reckon it will cost about $120,000, but be­cause of that it will have to go to ten­der,” coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive John Mer­rick said.

On March 26, the coun­cil sent its or­der to Mrs Oswal’s Syd­ney lawyers to de­mol­ish the man­sion on 6582sq m that has been in­com­plete since she and her hus­band Pan­jak Oswal left Australia in 2011, af­ter spend­ing about $13.5 mil­lion on the build­ing.

On De­cem­ber 16, the coun­cil de­clared the man­sion un­fit for hu­man oc­cu­pa­tion af­ter an in­spec­tion found no ex­ter­nal wa­ter­proof­ing, light­ing, food prepa­ra­tion ar­eas, toi­lets or laun­dry, power or gas and some stair­cases with­out balustrades.

An­other in­spec­tion found no safety work had been done by March 13.

The coun­cil has asked Mrs Oswal to board up ground floor ac­cess, fill in an un­der­ground pump house, truck away rub­ble and mow weeds, af­ter it spent up to $50,000 on fenc­ing, se­cur­ing and pa­trolling the man­sion.

It does not ex­pect to re­cover the cost in any sale of the man­sion’s land.

Af­ter the coun­cil agreed on the or­der two weeks ago, Mrs Oswal’s Syd­ney lawyer Re­bekah Giles said her client wanted to com­plete the man­sion. Any de­mo­li­tion cost was bet­ter spent on im­prov­ing the build­ing’s safety and con­trac­tors would do the safety work.

How­ever, Mrs Oswal has no build­ing li­cence and she al­legedly still owes the coun­cil about $96,000 in rates, af­ter pay­ing about $58,000 on De­cem­ber 30.

Mr Mer­rick said the only known con­trac­tor was a man in the man­sion who said he was get­ting quotes when seen by pass­ing coun­cil staff about six weeks ago.

The Coun­cil ex­pects a re­ply to the de­mo­li­tion or­der “at the last minute” and Mrs Oswal to ap­peal to the State Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal within 21 day of the or­der be­ing made.

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