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Opal Tower residents will be ‘lucky to get 40 per cent back on their apartments’ homeless residents

Sydney father Mark O’Brien has spent the past few days on the south coast – and his holiday couldn’t have come at a better time.

The trader, who had been renting an apartment in Opal Tower, has lost his office space and his second home after the brand new high-rise was completely evacuated this week because of large cracks in a pre-cast panel.

‘I was at the gym and I came back and they wouldn’t let me in,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. ‘Fortunately my dog wasn’t up there.’

Sydney father Mark O’Brien (pictured) has spent the past few days on the south coast – and his holiday couldn’t have come at a better time

Mr O’Brien was able to get into the space on Sunday afternoon, after he returned from his holiday, and described the area as a ‘ghost town’.

‘There was just a wire fence and a lot of heat,’ he joked of the chicken-wire fence surrounding the property and gates that have sealed off the entrances to the apartment block.

He said when he entered the building, once renowned for its beauty and innovative design, there were a few apartments sealed off, while security guards made up the majority of those inside.

An email sent to residents of the tower on Sunday says 20 security guards are surrounding the building, checking photo ID of tenants who enter to collect mail or their belongings, while 50 tradespeople have been employed to repair the damage.

Any resident wishing to return to the apartment has been asked to give the developer two hours notice.

On Christmas Eve, hundreds of residents from Opal Tower (pictured) and thousands from neighbouring buildings were evacuated after loud cracking noises prompted calls to emergency services

On Christmas Eve, hundreds of residents from Opal Tower (pictured) and thousands from neighbouring buildings were evacuated after loud cracking noises prompted calls to emergency services

Most were initially let back inside, but on Thursday were told everyone would have to leave the building for at least 10 days while an investigation into the damage and its cause was completed and the cracks were repaired

Most were initially let back inside, but on Thursday were told everyone would have to leave the building for at least 10 days while an investigation into the damage and its cause was completed and the cracks were repaired

Mr O’Brien is one of the luckiest tenants in the building. With his family home based just across the road, he’s able to rehome himself and his dog very easily – and the holiday period means he’s got a few days before the move will impact his work too much.

But he says he feels terrible for people who have paid up to a million dollars for one of the apartments.

‘The apartments are quite nice,’ he said. ‘But beauty only goes skin deep in this case I guess.’

‘I feel sorry for the poor people who bought a place there, I saw there was a young lady who bought one, paid a million for two bedrooms… that’s just awful.

‘You’d be lucky to get 40 per cent of what you paid for it. These people will be crippled for life.’

Mr O’Brien said he is currently unable to break his lease in the building, but is hoping he won’t need to pay for the two weeks he’ll spend locked out of his office.

Meanwhile, the trader’s neighbours are in a world of hurt.

On Christmas Eve, hundreds of residents from Opal Tower and thousands from neighbouring buildings were evacuated after loud cracking noises prompted calls to emergency services.

Most were initially let back inside, but on Thursday were told everyone would have to leave the building for at least 10 days while an investigation into the damage and its cause was completed and the cracks were repaired.

Those evacuated have been put up in hotels, but some have been relocated a second time due to pre-existing New Year’s Eve bookings.

Those evacuated have been put up in hotels, but some have been relocated a second time due to pre-existing New Year's Eve bookings

Those evacuated have been put up in hotels, but some have been relocated a second time due to pre-existing New Year’s Eve bookings

‘We realise this is another nuisance for those impacted and sincerely apologise to them,’ Bassam Aflak, director of development company Ecove, said.

‘We are supporting Icon, which is working hard on solutions.’

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, planning minister Anthony Roberts said there were three residents remaining in the building, who had refused to evacuate.

The trio were in ‘parts of the building that aren’t affected by this [damage]’, he said.

‘They have their own individual reasons why they don’t wish to leave and I must say public works engineers on the first night decided the building [was] safe for habitation, structurally safe in those areas,’ he said. ‘Those people are away from those areas of concern.’ 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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