The Melbourne City Council today admitted that it did not issue a permit for the hoarding at the former CUB Swanston Square site that collapsed liking three people.
In its carefully crafted public statement the City of Melbourne said “we can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall” The Council deliberately going out of its way to avoid calling the “structure:” a hoarding. The reason is simple. If it is considered a hoarding then the council is responsible of overseeing its design and construction.
The plywood “structure” that collapsed and was attached to the masonry wall was most defiantly a hoarding and any attempt by the City Council to try and reclassify it will come unstuck.
There was a 22 meter section of 3m hoarding to the left of the collapsed wall that was a lightly supported structure designed to fence off the building site from Swanston Street. This fence can not be seen as anything else but a hoarding and falls within the definition of a hoarding as outlined in the Council local laws and Construction Management guidelines.
The plywood hoarding was attached to the brick wall which collapsed when a gust of wind caused it to topple. There is wide speculation that the hoarding contributed to the walls collapse
The City of Melbourne has a statutory duty and obligation to ensure that all building sites, within the City of Melbourne, are inspected and do not pose a risk to public safety.
The accident which killed three innocent people on Thursday March 28 is currently the subject of an investigation by the Coroner, WorkSafe and the Building Commission.
It is unclear if either investigation will examine the role and responsibility of the City of Melbourne.
The City Council today refused to consider a request for an investigation into the City Council’s role and obligation surrounding this accident. Cr Steven Mayne in reply claimed that “calls for an investigation was just grandstanding“
Engaging in pass the baton, failing to acknowledge responsibility or refusing to be held accountable does little to restore confidence in the Council’s administration.