Roeluf Smilde speaks
The salient points in this process are quite clear. Land and Housing are going to spend some seven weeks addressing some of the safety issues. It is not major work and it is not expensive. They expect we will be able to resume normal service by the 14th February, maybe earlier. The one program that is still prevented from resuming is the Pathways educational program. The classroom cant be used until a sprinkler system has been installed (in the whole building) and that could take at least six months. The teaching staff will have trouble keeping their students engaged.
We had agreed to take up an offer for a temporary office in the terrace house next to the old fire station in Mitchell Street. This proposed move has caused considerable stress to the people who regularly make use of that space, we can now happily drop that offer.
We must thank all the people who took part in the campaign for reoccupation. The leaflets, the posters, the rally, the Xmas cards and the radio interviews all played their part. Another significant factor was the City of Sydney’s offer to do an independent assessment of the building. It seems quite clear that this move had Land and Housing worried and caused them to change course.
While the reoccupation is a great result the campaign to Save GYS is not over. We need to get a new long-term lease at a peppercorn rent, or its equivalent, and that will not be easy. We need to put our best effort into this, starting early in the New Year. Roelof Smilde. 27th December, 2013.