Row over lease on restau­rant

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

COTTES­LOE Coun­cil has its ratepayer as­so­ci­a­tion’s back­ing to fight op­er­a­tors of the In­di­ana Restau­rant in the Supreme Court over al­leged lease and main­te­nance breaches at the iconic 1990s build­ing on Cottes­loe Beach.

“The com­mu­nity is now sick of the de­bate, af­ter we have had a Supreme Court ac­tion in the late 90s, dis­putes over the toi­lets, dis­putes over the re­spon­si­bil­ity for main­te­nance, and now a fur­ther Supreme Court ac­tion,” as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent John Ham­mond said.

Last Tues­day, restau­rant oper­a­tor, Mel­bourne-based Red Rock Leisure, served a Supreme Court writ on the coun­cil, af­ter the lat­ter sent a no­tice al­leg­ing the breaches last month. Mr Ham­mond said the as­so­ci­a­tion sup­ported the coun­cil as­sum­ing con­trol of the restau­rant and de­fend­ing the court ac­tion, and it ad­vo­cated shar­ing re­pairs us­ing a for­mula in the lease.

The coun­cil claims a con­tentious 50-year lease at the In­di­ana is in de­fault be­cause Red Rock failed to in­di­cate if it would con­tinue with 15 and 10-year op­tions that could fol­low from a 25-year com­po­nent of the agree­ment, due to ex­pire on Au­gust 4.

“Fur­ther, the coun­cil is of the view that, based on the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the ten­ant to date, the ten­ant failed to validly ex­er­cise the op­tion, in any event,” chief ex­ec­u­tive Mat Hum­fry said.

The coun­cil also al­leges Red Rock failed to con­duct re­pairs at the restau­rant, and Mr Hum­fry said the coun­cil an­tic­i­pated Red Rock’s writ af­ter its no­tice was served last month.

The no­tice also trig­gered can­cel­la­tion of a pre­vi­ously coun­cil­backed $4.2 mil­lion ex­pan­sion of the restau­rant in March. Mr Hum­fry said the coun­cil was pre­pared to go to court, but he would not de­fine the “con­sid­er­able” le­gal fees or say if Red Rock had said the restau­rant would con­tinue op­er­at­ing af­ter Au­gust 4.

He said whether the coun­cil was li­able for the build­ing’s up­keep or moth­balling af­ter Au­gust 4 may de­pend on the out­come of the court case, which could take a year to be listed.

Red Rock Leisure also op­er­ates Fraser’s in Kings Park and The Old Brew­ery at Mounts Bay Road. Its Mel­bourne and Perth rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not re­ply be­fore dead­line.

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