Esperance Motor Hotel to close over suspension order

Pub's pending suspension: Esperance Motor Hotel on Andrew Street. Photo: Jesinta Burton.
Pub's pending suspension: Esperance Motor Hotel on Andrew Street. Photo: Jesinta Burton.

The future of the Esperance Motor Hotel hangs in the balance, as a suspension order over asbestos at the premises threatens to close the doors for up to two years.

The venue on Andrew Street, which currently employs 14 full-time staff, was rebuilt back in 1964 and operates as a pub venue and accommodation provider.

WorkSafe confirmed the Motor Hotel was visited by an inspector back in March 2017, conducting an inspection of the premises as part of a proactive inspection program looking at safety issues in pubs, taverns and bars and issued an improvement notice to the hotel because it did not have an asbestos register.

A spokesperson for WorkSafe said the notice was later signed off as having been complied with, as the hotel had established the asbestos register as required. 

The Esperance Express understand shortly after this that an audit, undertaken by a separate body, confirmed the existence of about 600 square metres of friable asbestos on the roof of the building which needed to be removed.

The business was given until December, 2018, to remediate the asbestos.

That date was later extended until March 31, 2019.

Friable asbestos products generally contain high levels of asbestos and, when dry, can crumble into fine material or dust with light pressure and be released into the air if disturbed.

It is understood that the necessary works have not been undertaken and the business will be issued with a suspension notice during the first week of April, 2019.

The suspension notice will be in effect until the works are complete and could be in place for up to two years.

News of the suspension order and potential closure was met with disappointment online, with residents addressing the hotel as an iconic part of the town’s landscape and history.

“It’s going to be a sad day for staff, ex staff and patrons," one comment said.

"It’ll take an awful lot of work to get up and running again, if the opportunity to rescue it is there."

Residents also expressed doubts about the issue being remediated and the premises being reopened, with the Motor Hotel currently on the market.

At this stage, it is unclear whether the business’ accommodation operation will run with a suspension order on the main building.

Esperance Motor Hotel owner John Jones and general manager Trevor Burleigh were approached for comment, however, both declined.

WorkSafe played no part in this suspension notice or the threatened closure of the hotel.

More to come.