“Bitterly disappointed”: Altantic Group fumes as Melbourne’s Central Pier to stay closed over Christmas

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

The closure of Docklands’ Central Pier will continue over the busy Christmas period and on into the summer, angering a prominent group that operates in the events and retail precinct.

The extension comes after the pier and its precinct of event and retail spaces were suddenly closed in August due to it being deemed unsafe by a team of engineers.

Development Victoria has advised businesses and the public that Central Pier will remain closed until 6 January.

Angela Skandarajah, CEO of Development Victoria, told ABC News that engineers found an issue with the footings of the pier had compromised its stability.

In Development Victoria’s most recent announcement, the government authority reported engineers had advised that it will take some 15 weeks to undertake a detailed assessment of the pier.

As a result, businesses operating on the pier will not be able to return until this has been completed.

“A decision about the future of the pier will only be made once a full assessment has been provided by the dive team and specialist marine engineers,” the statement read.

“We know how much this affects people’s businesses, jobs and events, but the safety of people working on and using the pier has to be our number one priority.”

Atlantic Group, which owns several businesses on the pier developed after a successful bid in 2007, said it was “bitterly disappointed” by the news.

In a statement, the group said it had relocated hundreds of functions from Shed 14 – home to four of its event venues – to other venues.

“Rest assured our team will continue to work alongside wedding, corporate and social clients to ensure all events through to the end of 2019 are relocated as quickly as possible with seamless interruption,” the statement read.

“We have many venues that have agreed to let us cater within their spaces and we are focused on working with those venues as a matter of priority to facilitate the relocations.”

Atlantic Group added it was frustrated by the lack of support and transparency displayed by Development Victoria throughout the process.

According to the group, the only information Development Victoria provided was to advise that an engineer’s report will be available with further assessment of the pier’s stability in mid-October.

In late August, Atlantic Group said it would continue to employ the 1,000 staff employed on Central Pier as it works to resolve this issue.

Development Victoria claims it has acted in good faith and in accordance with the terms of the Central Pier lease. It said any legal action will be defended.