EXCEPT THAT IT'S NO LAUGHING MATTER
All 120 plus Units including ground floor restaurants and shops across two towers known as Mascot Towers situated at 1-5 Bourke Street Mascot were evacuated on Friday June 14th at 7:37pm.
Roger Mentha, Assistant commissioner of operational capability from Fire and Rescue NSW, said engineers were inspecting the building and it could take days.
"At this stage, the engineers need to look at the cracks in those beams while the residents aren't there," he said. "Then they can do an analysis on whether there have been any movements. Then they will be able to give further advice to the residents about how long it will take to rectify."
One resident of the apartments said he was left crying in the street and was threatened with arrest after trying to re-enter the building to retrieve his pets. When he tried to enter the building he was stopped by police. The resident said,
"We were told we weren't allowed to go back into the unit and I was told that 'if you go back in you will be arrested', he said".
The resident found another entry and managed to retrieve his pets.
There has been suggestion that an unoccupied building currently under construction next door to Mascot Towers may be the cause of cracks in the beams.
It was only six months ago that another apartment building in Sydney also had its residents evacuated after cracks appeared.
It was Christmas Eve last year that cracks were also identified in a 36-storey Opal Tower apartment building in Sydney’s Olympic Park, forcing the evacuation of 3,000 residents from 392 units.
With forced evacuations occurring within six months of each other serious questions need to be asked.
Sydney is a city that in recent years has seen housing affordability skyrocket and a population growth that has far exceeded its infrastructure. It was inevitable that urgent accommodation had to be built to keep up with this demand. It is possible that this dangerous mix has seen apartment buildings being built that have evaded proper inspection and certification.
At this stage it is unknown whether there would be any insurance coverage for temporary accommodation for those that were evacuated. Some of the residents have sought temporary accommodation in nearby hotels at their own expense.
Opposition Spokesperson for Innovation and Better Regulation, Yasmin Catley, "The problems at Mascot Towers were symptomatic of the government having watered down building regulations".
"None of this cutting red-tape here and cutting red-tape there to save a few bucks, because, at the end of the day, buildings are being driven by price rather than quality and that is not good enough!"