The City of Greater Geraldton is considering taking legal action against the owners of the Batavia Motor Inne if the elusive developers do not respond to calls to secure and demolish the building in the wake of escalating violence. It would be the second time the local government would front court in an attempt to rid Geraldton of the eyesore, and the third time the City would have failed to work with owners to secure the site. Once popular with tourists, the ex-holiday accommodation spot has been the target of vandalism, arson attempts, and anti-social behaviour for about 12 years. Some of Geraldton’s homeless population also shelter there, trying to protect themselves from the some 30 to 50 people who use the site as a place to party and engage in dangerous activities. Mayor Shane Van Styn said talks between the City and the new property owners 54 Fitzgerald Pty Ltd — which include ex-City of Perth Mayor Lisa Scaffidi’s husband Joe — had ceased several months ago. It is understood the developers put to the City it relocate its administration building from Cathedral Avenue to the Batavia Motor Inne site, but Mr Van Styn said this idea had never been seriously considered. “There has been no formal decision of council but it wasn’t overly well received on the basis that you would end up with an empty building of council chambers. It just moves the problem in some regards,” he said. Mr Van Styn (who is also lives next door to the Batavia Motor Inne) said City staff were now considering issuing developers with demolition or building-non compliance orders. “At the moment these are all options that have been considered by staff but nothing has been presented to council yet. Obviously once it comes to council I can no longer take part in the deliberations (due to a conflict of interest),” he said. The City could demolish the site itself, but Mr Van Styn said this could cost ratepayers up to $1 million. “If council is forced to demolish the site itself, it would have to fund the full demolition and remediation costs for the site,” he said. “With $800,000 in demolition costs and (legal costs) for challenging the (owners), it could be a $1m exercise. “There is no question that the community want to see the site demolished. But I’m not entirely sure that the community is aware of the cost to ratepayers in doing this, albeit that the costs will ultimately be recoverable should the site be disposed of or developed.” A Meekatharra woman was arrested last week after she allegedly stabbed her partner up to five times outside the site, with Mr Van Styn saying anti-social behaviour was the “worst it has ever been”. “It has become extremely bad over the last six months. The level of violence has escalated incredibly and the volume of people in there has grown exponentially,” he said. It is understood the developers want the State Government’s involvement in relocating those staying at the site, but Mr Van Styn said this was ultimately the responsibility of the property owners. “The owners of the site are responsible for vacating the property of people that are squatting. There is no other people that are responsible,” he said. “(Evacuating the property) is going to require a coordinated approach with the State Government, police and the owners. “Instead (the owners) are hiding in their offices in Perth and blaming other people for not taking care of this. “It is disappointing and unfortunately it feels like a bit of a merry-go-round and a case of history repeating itself.” The City launched two legal bids against the previous owners of the site, the now defunct Singaporean investment syndicate Batavia Village Pty Ltd, for failing to secure or demolish the building and for payment of outstanding rates. The company subsequently went into liquidation and Mr Scaffidi and his co-developers snapped up the site for $572,000 in September. It is understood the council is in continual internal discussions as to how to address the issue.