THE last chapter in the Solomon Lew pool saga played out on Monday when contractors started demolishing the $400,000 horizon pool built on Crown land at Mt Eliza.
Workers from Templestowe-based demolition firm DEC moved a heavy-duty concrete saw, small excavator and other equipment onto the property in Osprey Ave.
The pool was built without a planning permit and in secret on public foreshore land next to the Lew family holiday property above Moondah Beach.
It caused a huge ruckus when discovered by authorities after workers were heard bragging in a bar about building a pool that neighbours thought was a water tank.
Mornington Peninsula Shire ordered the pool be demolished and remediation of the land on which the pool, a retaining wall, fence and landscaping had been placed.
Then followed months of controversy as lawyers acting for Mr Lew, a billionaire clothing retailer, tried first to buy the public land and then lease it. Mornington MP David Morris lobbied strongly for no sale of the land.
The shire closed part of Moondah Beach over fears the land would subside when cracks were discovered in the retaining wall.
Last December an agreement was reached with the shire before the case went to Frankston Magistrates’ Court.
Authorities became aware of the pool in a secluded part of the foreshore in May 2011. The pool was emptied last August and covered to prevent its use while the council investigated the stability of the site and conducted negotiations with representatives from Lew family company Shuttlehall regarding the safe removal of the pool.
The Osprey Ave property, believed to be worth more than $2.5 million, is used as a holiday retreat by Jacqueline Lew and also has an indoor pool.
On Monday, The News sought comment from Mt Eliza councillor Leigh Eustace.
Cr Eustace said he had not “been officially informed by council of the works being undertaken” but knew they were pending.
“This is a good result for the protection of Crown land owned by the people of Victoria and the pool removal and restoration of the land being at no cost to Mornington Peninsula ratepayers.”