The owner of the former St John’s Orphanage says he will demolish a rear building gutted by fire last week.
John Ferrara said the old hall, built in 1932 and extended in the early 1950s, was “not salvageable.”
He told The Post he didn’t need approval to do so as its removal was included in a 2013 development application.
Mr Ferrara secured approval for a subdivision around the Mundy St complex but can’t progress work with the main building until he complies with council heritage plan requirements.
The council issued him an emergency order to render the burnt rear structure safe, following the Monday, October 17 fire.
“I have 28 days to comply but I’d already done things before the order was issued,” Mr Ferrara said.
“I’ve removed loose iron and locked up the gate...If people break in it’s not my problem. I can’t be there 24/7. I am concerned about the number of people getting in there. They think they have a right.”
The owner has lodged several DAs for the 1912 EC Manfred designed orphanage over the past 10 years but none have progressed. Squatters and others have regularly frequented the building.
Police could not find those responsible for a fire at St John’s last November which destroyed a large part of the roof and upper level of the former orphanage.
On Tuesday, Detective Inspector Chad Gillies said police were still awaiting forensics and pursuing leads on the most recent blaze.
One of these included reports of two teenage girls running from the building at 5.20pm that day, wearing backpacks.
Meantime, a former resident, Phil Merrigan, said ‘old boys’ were disappointed by yet another fire.
“But I think most of them have given up because they know the buildings will eventually be bulldozed,” he said.
“This was their home but they don’t feel any connection anymore...Anything left to rack and ruin is an open invitation to vandals.”
The Central Coast man organises regular reunions but says one scheduled for next March/April will probably be the last.