Visitors to Guilderton over the summer holidays may have noticed the limited service and goods provided by the Guilderton Café & General Store, which came under new management in the middle of last year.
In August last year the new managers, Belgravia Leisure, said major upgrades would transform the Guilderton General Store into a clean, fresh and modern beachside café and general store offering essential grocery and travel supplies for Guilderton residents and tourists visiting the region.
But on Monday the Shire of Gingin said Belgravia Leisure was still waiting for final quotes to be received this week for the Guilderton café with the start of construction anticipated for early February and an anticipated opening in mid-April depending on the availability of trades.
Belgravia Leisure WA state manager Rohan Gunton said the company had been working behind the scenes to progress the work on the Guilderton Café & General Store as quickly as possible and had now completed all the design work.
“We’ve been liaising with a number of builders as we move through the selection process,’’ he said.
“Like many other businesses with current building projects, we are facing challenges created by Covid-19 with respect to the availability of building trades, who are stretched to capacity.’’
He said a small ‘pop-up’ store at the current location was open from Thursday to Sunday, providing basic grocery staples and a limited takeaway menu.
“This has been operating since December and we will continue to provide this interim service to the local community until the renovations commence.’’
At the Shire of Gingin’s first council meeting for 2022 former manager Kerry Enright said she wanted to move on but she could not while she was receiving many complaints about the shop and the caravan park.
Mrs Enright, who had become embroiled in a dispute with the Shire of Gingin about renewal of the lease before the council awarded the lease to Belgravia Leisure (after both submitted tenders), also said she had seen comments which referred to shire staff having worked with Belgravia previously.
The comments published in October 2020 were made in reference to Guilderton Holiday Park and quoted chief executive officer Aaron Cook as saying some staff had worked with BelgraviaPRO for other facilities in previous roles at other shires so they knew from that experience how passionate BelgraviaPRO were and just what they could bring to the table.
Yanchep News Online asked if the Gingin staff, who worked with BelgraviaPRO for other facilities in previous roles at other shires, worked on the development application or tender for the Guilderton Holiday Park and was Mr Cook among those staff who worked with BelgraviaPRO for other facilities in previous roles at other shires.
On Monday a Shire of Gingin spokeswoman said no shire staff had worked with BelgraviaPRO at any of Belgravia’s other facilities.
“An employee of BelgraviaPRO was an employee at another facility management company contracted by another shire at which Mr Cook was employed,’’ she said.
When Yanchep News Online asked did any of the Gingin staff, who worked with BelgraviaPRO for other facilities in previous roles at other shires, work on the tender for the Guilderton café-general store the answer was no.
Yanchep News Online also asked if any Gingin staff, who worked with BelgraviaPRO for other facilities in previous roles at other shires, worked on development applications or tenders relating to Guilderton Holiday Park or the Guilderton café-general store were Gingin councillors made aware of this prior to them voting on these items.
She said councillors were not made aware as no shire staff had worked with BelgraviaPRO prior to dealing with the Guilderton Park Holiday Park or Guilderton Café tender.
“The shire engaged WALGA’s Procurement Services, and independent consultancy specialising in Local Government procurement, to conduct this tender to ensure all processes and obligation under the Local Government Act 1995 were met in inviting, assessing and awarding the tender.’’
This article appeared on Yanchep News Online on 29 January 2022.