The homes in Welfare Street have been held as a single property since they were built as affordable housing for Homebush Abattoir workers back in the early twentieth century.
The Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) became the owner when it took over the land from the abattoirs for the Sydney Olympics. Long term tenants and some descendants remained in their homes until two households moved out after receiving termination notices from Centennial Property Group (CPG) in late November. Others have remained to fight for their legal right to continue their 'protected tenancies'.
On December 27, the SMH reported that the new owners had bought subdivided land. But this turns out not to be true.
SOPA could have sought permission from the Minister to subdivide the land but in order to that, it would have been forced to deal with the tenants in a straightforward way. Instead it promised them that it had no intention of dislodging them and agreed to sell the property to CPG. When interviewed by the SMH after the auction, a SOPA spokesperson said the tenants were no longer its concern.
At the time that Strathfield Partners auctioned the homes as separate lots, they were still held on a single title. Any subdivision of the property must now be approved by Strathfield Council. Only if subdivision occurs can new titles be transferred to successful bidders.
In fact, the subdivision application was not even lodged with Strathfield Council until two days before the auction on December 18th. Even now on January 13, the subdivision application has not been posted on the Council's public notifications site. After it is posted, the community will still have a month to respond.
Until the application is put on public display, it's not possible to check its details. You would expect however that the holder of the title would have lodged the application for subdivision. But as I reported in my second story in this series, I checked the Land Title record on January 5, more than 2 months after Centennial Property Group agreed to buy the site, and found that it was still held by the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA).
Why didn't SOPA deal honestly with its tenants? Why auction the properties in such a rush before the subdivision had even taken place? Why has the title taken so long to transfer? Did the company seriously expect that they could dislodge all the tenants in a few weeks without any negative publicity or complaints?
I am still waiting for answers to my questions from the Minister Sport and Recreation Stuart Ayres.
Note: After this article was published the notification of the subdivision of the single title into 12 titles was published on Strathfield Council website under 2-12 Flemington Road which is the address of half the properties. Rather than a month as most other applications have for community consultation, the period for this application is less than three weeks.