Doma seeks cost guarantee from Land and Environment Court

Members of the Gosford Waterfront Alliance at the Doma site in GosfordMembers of the Gosford Waterfront Alliance at the Doma site in Gosford

The Doma Group, the developer of the Australian Tax Office (ATO) building on the corner of Mann St and Georgiana Tce, Gosford, has lodged an application with the Land and Environment Court for security for costs against the Gosford Waterfront Alliance (GWA).

The matter will be heard by the Land and Environment Court in Sydney on September 28. Alliance President, Ms Claire Braund, said the step by Doma was an attempt to stymie the Land and Environment Court action already lodged by the Gosford Waterfront Alliance to stop the ATO development.

Basically Doma has applied for the Alliance to be required to lodge a bond in the event that it loses its case so that Doma has assurances its legal costs are covered. “It will mean that on September 28, the judge will get to decide whether we are who we say we are and whether or not we are a bona fi de community group acting in the public interest,” Ms Braund said. She said the Alliance currently had 90 members, and membership was continuing to grow steadily each month.

Coast Community News has made several requests for an interview with Doma’s development manager, Mr David Carey, but he has not returned calls. Ms Braund said that, to the best of the Alliance’s knowledge, Doma had not yet received a Construction Certifi cate from Council or a private certifi er. A certificate is required before the development site can be activated and construction commenced.

“They have always claimed that they have been doing pre work, and it is related to the removal of asbestos,” Ms Braund said. “They have also uncovered some heritage items,” she said. The Alliance has also stated that it is keen to work with all levels of government to fi nd alternative sites for the ATO and the NSW Department of Finance offi ces within the Gosford Central Business District. “There are other locations and other alternatives. “We are absolutely delighted to have the fi nance offi ce and the tax offi ce in the Gosford CBD as opposed to on the iconic Gosford Waterfront which is not part of the Central Business District.”

Ms Braund said the GWA’s case would be heard by the Land and Environment Court on November 1 and 2. “Because our case involves quite complex and serious matters, the Court may well take its time to make a determination,” Ms Braund said. “Our case is very much around trying to get a better vision for Gosford, to keep these valuable jobs and offi ces, but put them in much more appropriate locations,” she said.

Interview, Sep 20, 2016 Claire Braund, Gosford Waterfront Alliance