The manager of a Scarborough deli who slept on top of the shop to stop developers from tearing it down, says workers have cut a sewerage pipe behind his store, which is causing waste to spew out everywhere.
Mal’z Deli manager Simon Mackenzie was holding the one-man protest because he claims he had a lease at the shop until late next year, which included a storeroom, coolroom, and rear wash area for his food business which were in the wrecking ball’s sights.
Mr Mackenzie’s rooftop vigil ended after four days when the State Administrative Tribunal resolved developer Psaros – who is planning to building high-rise apartments behind the deli – build him a coolroom at the back of the shop.
But Mr Mackenzie claims when the workers ripped up the house behind his deli, it cut a sewerage pipe.
“When they ripped the house up as everybody knows, the shop’s plumbing and electrical was running through the house, that’s the reason our power got cut because they cut the power to the shop,” he told Radio 6PR on Wednesday morning.
“So when they ripped the house up on Tuesday the sewerage line wasn’t cut and sealed or connected to the sewer. So all the stuff runs from the toilet … as soon as you press that button it goes out from a pipe all over the building site and it’s exactly where the new storeroom was supposed to be built right out the backdoor.”
Mr MacKenzie said the stench behind the shop was unbearable.
“We walked down the laneway because we thought it was a short cut and the things we saw in that laneway… we dry retched,” he said. “We could not believe it.”
Janina Groger and Simon Mackenzie inside the deli. Photo: Tazli Bowe
Developer Psaros’ managing director Mike Enslin said in early June the deli owners had leased a shop and they were happy for the shop to stay in its premises.
“There is no such clause in the lease we’ve got,” he said.
“We have been trying to negotiate with Simon for a long time, we want to be fair and reasonable and we understand he has a lease and wants to see it out and make his profits.
“We are happy to reimburse him and pay him more than what is due but negotiations have been a bit of a struggle.
“Danny [Psaros], police, lawyers, security guards have all tried to negotiate with him but without success.”
Mr Enslin said security cameras had been turned off at the site because his contractors felt “uncomfortable” at being filmed given the nature of the situation.
Psaros had previously posted a statement on their Facebook page saying a storm on May 21 damaged the derelict house beside the deli, including an asbestos roof.
“It was deemed necessary to demolish the house to ensure the safety of the deli owner, his staff and nearby residents,” they said.
“The shop tenant does not lease the house and has no right to access it, or deny others access to it. The owner will, however, continue to have access to the deli until the expiry of his lease.”
“This vital work commenced only after the deli owner was informed of the situation.
“In the course of repairing the site, workers were denied entry to the deli in order to access an electricity board that would enable them to create a safe worksite. As a result, they had no choice but to access the leased premises in line with emergency powers stated in the lease agreement.
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