Teenager charged with Umina Mall arson
A teenager faced Woy Woy Children's Court last Wednesday, September 25, charged over the alleged multimillion-dollar arson of Umina Mall complex earlier this year.
The boy was refused bail and remains in custody.
He next appears before the Children's Court at Woy Woy on November 1 for a committal hearing.
Police and emergency services were called to Ocean Beach Rd, Umina Beach, just after 2am on Sunday, January 13, following reports the barber shop was on fire.
The fire quickly spread to neighbouring stores and into the roof cavity, and despite the efforts of Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters, the complex was destroyed.
Police say the damage is estimated to be several million dollars.
A police spokesman said Initial inquiries suggested the fire was deliberately lit using an accelerant following a break-in at the barber shop.
Following extensive investigations by Brisbane Water detectives, a 17-year-old boy was arrested at Woy Woy Police Station on Tuesday afternoon, September 24.
He was charged with damaging property by fire and refused bail and appeared at Woy Woy children's court.
Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the fire continue.
Police are keen to talk to anyone with any information.
Meanwhile, a confidential report to Central Coast Council, requested by the councillors is overdue.
Cr Richard Mehrtens asked for the report to address the status of the proposed sale of land around the site to shopping centre owner Mr Arthur Laundy of Laundy Hotels.
Cr Mehrtens said that despite requesting a reply to his notice of motion no later than the last meeting of September, that deadline had now passed and the report from staff was overdue.
"I have asked staff for a progress update on the sale, and I hope that delays in receiving the report are a sign that negotiations are taking place to get this issue resolved once and for all," Cr Mehrtens said.
"I am told that there is only one thing holding up the redevelopment of Umina Mall, and that is Council's willingness to sell the required lots.
"It's been long enough. it's time to get it done."
He said Council staff had recently inspected the Umina Mall site after receiving information from the public concerned the site was contaminated with asbestos.
Cr Mehrtens said he had been advised by staff that asbestos had not been identified on the exterior of the building at Umina Mall and enforcement action had commenced to ensure the site was secure and dumped rubbish was removed.
Council also inspected another site nearby, the former service station.
Council staff told Cr Mehrtens the former service station was security fenced and the owner was progressing to have the site remediated in accordance with NSW Contamination guidelines.
Media release, 25 Sep 2019
NSW Police Media
Central Coast Council agenda 8.1, 26 Aug 2019
Press Statement 26 Sept 2019
Richard Mehrtens, Central Coast Council