A BITTER dispute over licences and leases at Mordialloc Creek has ended in a settlement and an agreement.
Kingston Council announced last Wednesday (28 February) that agreement had finally been reached between council and tenant Leon Pompei after “months of legal action”.
Mr Pompei, son of legendary “Mr Mordialloc” Jack Pompei, has been at loggerheads with council for several years over lease terms at the creek.
Kingston mayor Cr Steve Staikos said in a statement last week that agreement has been reached “on a lease for parts of land at the Mordialloc Creek”.
Cr Staikos said the lease agreement at the community rate of $104 per annum is “similar to one offered to Mr Pompei by Council in December 2015, with a longer-term and slightly increased lease area”.
Council said a new public pathway will be built to the north of the lease area and a fence will clearly mark the site.
Cr Staikos said the long-running legal action had cost about $800,000 since legal proceedings began in 2016.
“We’re pleased that Mr Pompei has entered into a formal lease and licence arrangement that ensures the ongoing presence of the Pompei family on the Mordialloc Creek,” Cr Staikos said.
“The nine-year lease clearly sets out the areas where Mr Pompei can operate from and also allows for joint use of the boat ramp with the Mordialloc Boating and Angling Club.”
The boating and angling club agreed to sign a lease offered by council in early 2015. Mr Pompei declined to sign the lease offered at the time arguing since the creek land is crown land council had no right to impose lease terms.
Under the terms of the new lease, Mr Pompei’s business Pompei’s Marine Pty Ltd will continue to carry out boats maintenance work including paint sales and boats hire.
Mr Pompei said he incurred a hefty legal bill during the fight to avoid eviction. He has set up an online crowdfunding campaign to try to recoup some of the legal fees.
“It has been a long hard experience and I faced a lot, including the loss of a boat and a customer’s boat in attacks on my property and loss of business while standing up for myself,” Mr Pompei said.
“I personally feel disappointed to have been treated this way after all that we have given back to the community and would also like to thank the people that gave me great support over the years. I hope that council will say sorry.”
He said he is willing to work with the council in future.
Mordialloc Boating and Angling Club members and Mr Pompei have been in disagreement over access to a slipway into the creek.
The club’s committee released a statement in the wake of council’s announcement last week.
“The Mordialloc Boating and Angling Club (MBAC) has been an integral part of the boating community in Mordialloc Creek since the club’s inception in 1946, and remains committed to providing support to its 80 strong members who own and maintain the majority of traditional wooden boats moored within Mordialloc Creek,” the statement said.
“It is hoped that Kingston City Council can now re-direct some of its focus and resources to support the MBAC in ensuring that the heritage of the historically significant wooden boats, which make Mordialloc Creek unique, is preserved into the future.”
The club said it will make no comment about the lease terms offered to its neighbour, Mr Pompei.