Development Victoria announced this month that the 100-year-old Docklands Pier will remain close indefinitely.
The pier was closed suddenly in August last year leaving eight hospitality and event businesses in the precinct in limbo and costing hundreds of staff their jobs.
Development Victoria chief executive Angela Skandarajah said the pier needed a complete rebuild.
“At this stage we’re saying it would not be a repair, it would essentially be a rebuild, and that planning process needs to commence now,” she said.
“We will need to carefully consider what it may look like, we’ll start those conversations across government, but that would be a three to five-year process of planning and creating a new pier.”
Development Victoria had invested $7 million in rectification works to stabilise the pier over the past three years, with the tenants also contributing $50 million in maintenance costs.
“We recognise its historic nature and importance to the Docklands area and we will be looking to see what we can do to ensure that in the long-term the pier can be open to the public as a safe place for them to use and occupy,” Skandarajah said.
“Obviously this is not an easy decision to us, and not the decision we wanted.”
A spokesperson for the eight businesses said they were in “disbelief” and “extremely disappointed” with the decision.
“It is clear now that tens of thousands of people have been put at serious risk over a long period of time due to Development Victoria and its failure to maintain Central Pier,” the spokesperson said.
“We asked that the announcement be held off until the fire threat subsides and to allow us time to inform our workers and clients, but Development Victoria refused.
“Despite this, we will not be [commenting] until after the fire threat has subsided.”
The businesses affected are now suing the State Government, alleging Development Victoria neglected to maintain the pier.