Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 23 June 2005) . . Page.. 2303 ..
(4) When will the carpark be reopened;
(5) What compensation will the Department be seeking from the owners of the carpark for the inability to use the carpark;
(6) What provisions have been provided for ACTPLA staff carparking in the interim.
Mr Corbell: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
(1) (a) Property ACT, as the Territory’s property manager, and the ACT Planning and Land Authority, as the building regulator and lessee of part of the structure, both became aware of initial problems with the building on 19 January 2004.
(b) Whilst I was not formally briefed on the initial problems associated with the building in 2004, The Chief Planning Executive indicated informally to me that some issues existed and were the subject of further investigation by the building’s owner. More recently I received a verbal briefing ahead of the Authority’s intention to prevent its staff having access to the carpark from February 2005.
(2) Initial structural engineering advice in early 2004 indicated that there had been some movement in concrete panels on access ramps leading to the top deck of the carpark. There was also associated cracking apparent at the sides of the panels.
(3) The carpark was not closed at that time because of structural engineering advice provided to the Building Controller was that it remained suitable for continued use, providing access above level 6 was removed, structural reinforcement was provided to access ramps up to level 6 and barriers were erected to keep vehicles away from the edges of the access ramps.
The Authority in consultation with the other Dame Pattie Menzies tenant, ACT Procurement Solutions, took the decision to close access to the carpark by its staff on 25 February 2005 after receiving a copy of a subsequent report to the carpark owners by their structural engineer, advising that there had been further deterioration in the carpark structure and that he believed it was unsafe for further use. The Authority also wrote to the Carpark owners urging them to close the structure and issued a media release to inform other users of its concerns. The owners subsequently closed and secured the carpark.
From February 2004 the Authority, through the Building Controller, Property ACT and the Government Solicitor’s Office, has actively sought action by the carpark owners to undertake structural repairs to enable full use of the carpark. Despite indicating their intention to undertake the required work, this did not occur. During this period, the Authority was provided with further structural engineering advice that the carpark remained suitable for continued use.
The Authority and Property ACT have now engaged their own structural engineer to report on the current state of the carpark and the full extent of remedial work required.
(4) It is not possible at this time to determine when the carpark is likely to be reopened.
(5) The Authority is working with the Government Solicitors Office and Property ACT to determine the legal options available to the Territory as regards both structural sufficiency and obligations of the lessee to the sublessees including the Territory.