The owner of a Sydney apartment in a block that remains empty over fears of land contamination, has likened his situation to being locked up and powerless to change his fate.
People who bought into the Sugarcube Apartments and Honeycomb Terraces in Erskineville have been unable to move in due to Sydney Council’s concerns developer Golden Rain Development did not properly clean up toxic land underneath, it was revealed on Friday.
The buildings are the fourth set of Sydney apartment blocks to be abandoned in recent times.
The City of Sydney says the new Erskineville homes were built on a former industrial site previously used for manufacturing, and approval for the buildings was contingent on the developer remediating any contamination left behind.
Those contaminants include contaminated groundwater, heavy metals, hydrocarbons and asbestos.
Nic Rehac, 74, and his family shelled out $1 million for one of the Sugarcube apartments off the plan three years ago.
But in December 2018 he was told he would not be able to move in. He says he doesn’t know why and he doesn’t know when the situation will change.
“It’s like somebody sitting in jail and they don’t know what will happen to them,” he said.
“Especially I am not guilty … I don’t know what has happened with my money … you pay money and look what happens, we have nothing to show.”
The City of Sydney says it is in ongoing discussions with the developer but it had “not complied with the development consent conditions concerning remediation of the site”.
“We will continue to work with the developer until we are satisfied they’ve taken all necessary steps to ensure the site is suitable for residential purposes,” a spokeswoman said.
The council said it understood the situation was “frustrating” for those who had purchased the terraces and apartments but the safety of current and future residents was also a priority.
We have attempted to contact Golden Rain Development for comment.
The news follows the evacuation of Sydney Olympic Park’s Opal Tower on Christmas Eve, Mascot Towers in June and the Zetland apartments in July as the NSW government scrambles to overhaul building standards.
The NSW government has washed its hands of the latest abandoned development, saying the issue was due to a developer “allegedly not complying with their DA” and was a matter for the council.